Pentagon keen on rebuilding trust with Pakistan military

 
 
 
 WASHINGTON,  March 29 : General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, says said he is pleased that U.S. and Pakistani military
leaders have discussed “mutual concerns” – in a resumption of senior-level contacts
after several months – as he expressed desire to rebuild trust with Pakistan. 
 “We want to rebuild the trust and confidence between our two militaries,”
the top U.S. military officer said.
 Dempsey spoke to reporters traveling with him in South America as U.S.
military leaders, Centcom Chief Gen. James N. Mattis and commander of the NATO-led
with Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Pakistan.
 It was the highest level-military meeting between the United States and
Pakistan since a Nov. 26, 2011, incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along
the Afghan border. Following the incident, Pakistan closed the ground supply lines
that ran from Karachi up into Afghanistan, forcing coalition forces to rely on a
northern supply route.
 Meanwhile, in the wake of a spate of incidents that seriously strained
U.S.-Pakistan relationship last year, the Parliament in Islamabad is debating
recommendations on Pakistan’s future relations with the United States. The meeting
between American and Pakistani military leaders came a day after President Barack
Obama and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani met in Seoul, South Korea. In recent
days, U.S. special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman also met with
President Asif Ali Zardari in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, during a regional conference.
 Taveling in South America, Dempsey told reporters he has spoken with
Pakistani army chief Gen Kayani at least five times since the border incident.
 The Pakistanis, he said, want to reset the military-to-military
relationship with the United States.
 This includes working the border issues with the Pakistanis and reopening
the ground supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan, Dempsey said.
 He added that he believes the two militaries can discuss what must be done
in the federally administered tribal areas to improve the situation in both
Afghanistan and Pakistan. Groups have taken root in the tribal areas that pose a
threat to the national government and to neighboring Afghanistan, the chairman
explained.
 Over the past decade, Pakistan has sent thousands troops into the region to
take on these groups and to establish the government’s control of its sovereign
territory.
 Many officials believe the Pakistani military is doing about as much as it
can, the Pentagon report by American Forces Press Service said, claiming that
without availability of more Pakistani troops, the situation in tribal areas
probably will remain as it is, with ‘many areas under government control and others
like the Wild West.’
 At the same time, U.S. defense officials have been quick to point out that
Pakistan has lost thousands of service members and thousands of citizens to the
scourge of terrorism.  “No one doubts the sacrifice or will of the Pakistanis —
just the means they have,” one official said.
 At the State Department, meanwhile, Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said
President Obama discussed the bilateral relationship when he met with Prime
Minister Gilani in Seoul this week.
 “We – in terms of getting fully back on track, you know where we’ve been,
which is to respect the parliamentary process which is continuing,” she said in
reply to a question.
 “Our contacts have continued all the way through this. So – but in terms of
where we go from here, we’re going to wait until the Pakistani side finishes its
internal debate and then we will look forward to consulting with them on the
results,” the State Department spokesperson added.
 Source : MGCT, U.S. Department of Defense, By Ali Imran
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