Pakistani Military Leaders
Meet Aboard USS Lincoln
Pakistani military leaders continued their ongoing dialogue
about the war on terrorism during a meeting
aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Indian Ocean.
Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Pentagon
reporters today his meeting with Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Pakistani
chief of staff, was constructive and focused on the challenges posed by extremists
in the federally administered tribal area and the North West Frontier in
Pakistan. The Taliban and al-Qaida are using the areas to plan
and train for attacks
is … a growing complexity and coordination among extremist
groups there — an almost syndicate-like behavior — that has
resulted in new and ever more sophisticated attacks on coalition
forces,” Mullen said. He pointed to attacks against French
forces near Kabul last week and against U.S. forces in the
Wanat Valley near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan
safe havens in the border regions provide launching pads for
these sorts of attacks, and they need to be shut down,” the
Mullen at the conference was Army Gen. David D. McKiernan,
commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan; Army Lt. Gen. Martin
E. Dempsey, acting U.S. Central Command chief; Army Gen. David
H. Petraeus, the soon-to-be commander of U.S. Central Command
who now commands Multinational Force Iraq; and Navy Adm. Eric
T. Olson, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.
he came away from the long-planned meeting “very encouraged
that the focus is where it needs to be and that the … military-to-military
relationship we’re building with Pakistan is getting stronger
the fifth visit Mullen has made with Kayani since February,
and was a chance to keep the lines of communication open between
the two militaries.
me, more than anything, this was a chance to better understand
a very complex challenge in a critical part of the world and
to try to do that through the eyes of the leadership who live
and work and fight there every single day,” Mullen said.
the threat extremists pose to his country, Mullen said. The
U.S. and Pakistani leaders went over the specifics of the threat
facing Pakistan and Afghanistan and what can be done about
it. The meeting was important in “terms of learning as
well as continuing to look at where … we can support
and how we can understand each other better, with a … very
clear need from the United States’ standpoint and from
the Pakistani standpoint, that we have got to figure out a
way to get at this problem,” the chairman said.
military faces a conventional military challenge from India
and the extremist challenge. Kayani understands the situation,
Mullen said, and is moving toward combating the extremist problem
on the border with Afghanistan.
pleased that he’s moving in that direction and that he is,
actually, operating,” Mullen said. “And again,
we’re trying to figure out … how that fits into bringing
pressure onto that border to work to minimize the cross-border
operations from Pakistan into Afghanistan on the case of the
insurgents. It’s just going to take some time.
areas of Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan pose different
challenges, Mullen said, and long-term solutions must be in
place to address the root causes of extremism.
continues to be an extraordinarily complex problem [in Pakistan],” the
chairman said. “We need to continue to press on it. There
are areas that we can do better. There are areas that the Pakistan
military can do better. We understand that. It’s an area, I
think, we can all improve on. But it is not going to be something
that gets solved overnight.”
States will continue to work with Kayani and will continue
to reach out to improve the military-to-military relationship.
I have come to know him … his goal … is to do the
right thing by Pakistan,” Mullen said. “He’s an
extraordinary individual, and his ultimate … principles
and goals are to do what’s best for Pakistan. And everything
he’s done in our engagement indicates that’s absolutely the