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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pak, US military talks today

ISLAMABAD: The military commanders from Pakistan and the United States will today (Thursday) hold talks to ease their strained ties.

US Central Command (Centcom) chief Gen James Mattis will hold talks with Pakistan Army chief Gen. Ashfaque Pervez Kayani on operational matters` with a specific focus on issues that have soured the military-military ties.

His arrival was preceded by the submission of a White House bi-annual assessment to Congress that not only painted a grim picture of the deficits in Pakistan`s counter-insurgency efforts but also mentioned the reluctance of Pakistan`s military in accepting American help for problems such as the maintenance of helicopters.

The report has alleged that Pakistan, along with Afghanistan, continues to be the operational base of Al Qaeda and its affiliates threatening global peace.

Pakistan military`s spokesman Maj-Gen Ather Abbas rejected the White House report for having misinterpreted the situation on the ground, particularly the Mohmand operation.

The latest phase of the Mohmand operation was taking place in areas that had been left out in previous campaigns, he said, adding that the fight against the militants was an uphill task and was progressing slowly.

He reminded the Americans of the successes in Swat, Bajaur and Orakzai despite capacity constraints.

The spokesman also contradicted the report`s claim that Pakistan is not accepting US help for maintaining its helicopters; he said the Americans didn`t provide spare parts and more helicopters in time to meet the military`s requirement that was higher at the moment because of the excessive flying of its current fleet during last year`s floods.

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