Top US Commander Sees ‘Progress’ in US-Pakistan Relations

Posted August 2nd, 2012 at 10:35 am (UTC-5)
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The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan discussed border coordination with Pakistan's army chief Thursday during his first visit to Pakistan since it ended its seven-month blockade of NATO supplies.

A joint statement released after the meeting quoted General John Allen as saying he is pleased with the “upward spiral” in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship that such visits represent. He said the two sides are making “significant progress toward building a partnership that is enduring, strategic, carefully defined and that enhances the security and prosperity of the region.”

Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said the meeting with General Allen helped improve understanding between the Pakistani military and the NATO-led force in Afghanistan.

The commanders said the two sides, along with Afghan forces, share many interests, including a commitment to expanding opportunities for coordinated action against terrorists on both sides of the border. They also share a responsibility for protecting Afghan and Pakistani soldiers in the border region.

Earlier this week, U.S. and Pakistani officials signed a memorandum of understanding, in which Islamabad agreed to allow NATO to run supplies through its territory to Afghanistan through 2015. The agreement formalizes an arrangement that has allowed the U.S. to supply its troops during more than a decade of war.

In response, the United States released $1.1 billion to reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism operations. The money was frozen after Pakistan closed NATO supply lines into Afghanistan in November following a NATO air attack that mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the border. Pakistan agreed to reopen the routes early last month after the U.S. said it was “sorry” for the deaths.