U.S. generals, Pakistan army chief to meet to discuss NATO skirmish

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 4:28 AM
U.S. generals, Pakistan army chief to meet to discuss NATO skirmish

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The U.S. Central Command chief and the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan will meet Pakistan's army chief on Wednesday, the Pakistan military said, the first high-level military contact since a cross-border U.S. attack last November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Their talks, announced by the Pakistani military, take place a day after U.S. President Barack Obama met Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Seoul. He expressed hope that Pakistan's review of strained ties with Washington would respect U.S. security needs.

The Pakistani parliament is reviewing recommendations from its national security committee on future ties with Washington. They include a halt to U.S. drone strikes on militants in northwestern Pakistan and the possible reopening of overland supply routes to NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The routes were suspended after the November 26 incident, which sparked rage across Pakistan.

The Pakistani military statement said that army chief General Ashfaq Kayani's meeting with CentCom head General James N. Mattis and the NATO commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, would focus on investigations into the November 26 incident.

"The meeting will also look at border security and coordination measures and how to improve them," a senior Pakistani military official told Reuters, requesting anonymity.

The official provided no further details on the meeting at the Pakistani army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

Pakistan's cooperation is considered crucial to U.S. efforts to stabilize Afghanistan before most foreign combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014. Pakistan has strong traditional links with the Afghan Taliban and other militant groups.

(Reporting by Qasim Nauman; Editing by Ron Popeski)