Top US, Pakistani Generals to Hold First Talks Since Deadly Cross-Border Strike

Posted March 28th, 2012 at 8:10 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's army chief is to hold his first meeting with top U.S. commanders since a November NATO airstrike on a border post killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will meet with the head of U.S. Central Command, General James Mattis, and the NATO commander in Afghanistan, General James Allen, at Pakistani army headquarters outside Islamabad on Tuesday.

The Pakistani military says the commanders will discuss the investigation into the November 26 cross-border attack and improvements in border coordination procedures.

The deadly strike brought relations between the United States and Pakistan to a new low and prompted Pakistan to block NATO supply routes into Afghanistan.

In January, Pakistan's army rejected a U.S. military probe that blamed the attack on mistakes made by both sides. The army said it did not agree with U.S. findings that American forces acted in self-defense and with appropriate force after being fired on by Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan's military said the attack was deliberate.

The country's parliament is now debating new rules of engagement with the United States. A parliamentary committee reviewing U.S. ties is demanding a U.S. apology for the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers and an end to U.S. drone strikes.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Pakistan's review of its ties with the United States should not only respect Pakistan's sovereignty but also U.S. security needs. He acknowledged that relations between the two countries have been strained in recent months.

Mr. Obama made the comments alongside Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of an international nuclear summit in Seoul.