Senate of Pakistan

Troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan: Pakistan, US army leadership hold talks

October 07, 2013

Top military leadership of Pakistan and the United States Friday discussed the proposed withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and Pakistan's post-withdrawal role‚ besides agreeing to further advance co-operation on common objectives-cross-border co-operation and regional security. According to spokesperson of the United States Embassy here, General Lloyd J Austin III, Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM), left Pakistan on Friday after a series of meetings with senior Pakistani leaders.

The spokesperson said that General Austin discussed a wide range of common security issues with Secretary of Defence Lieutenant General Asif Yasin Malik (Retired), Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne and other senior military officials.

"General Austin was grateful for the opportunity to meet again with his Pakistani counterparts and reaffirmed the importance of the US-Pakistani security relationship to boost regional stability," the spokesperson said, adding that they agreed to continue to meet periodically to further common objectives on cross-border co-operation and regional security. During his meeting with Defence Secretary Asif Yasin in Rawalpindi, the two sides expressed satisfaction over the meetings of Pak-US defence consultative forum.

The top US military general applauded the role of Pakistan Army in the fight against terrorism. Both the sides discussed the proposed withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in 2014‚ Pakistan's role in post-withdrawal‚ Pakistan-Afghanistan border situation and the overall security situation in the region.

Meanwhile, a statement issued here after a courtesy call on the Defence Secretary, stated that General Lloyd Austin termed Pakistan a vital partner for regional security while commending Pakistan's efforts in facilitating the drawdown process of US and ISAF Forces. The CENTCOM Commander said that both Pakistan and USA are important to each other's national interests. He added that Pakistan has always been a useful partner and relations between the two countries are progressing with each passing day.

Secretary Defence reiterated that being a pivotal partner to the international community, Pakistan has sacrificed greatly in the war against terror. He asserted that Pakistan wants peace in the region and is ready to play its role for achieving the goal of lasting stability. He said that the Armed Forces and people of Pakistan have courageously fought and withstood the menace of terrorism over the last decade. The Secretary Defence added that Pakistan earnestly wishes for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan and pursues a policy of non-interference in Afghan affairs. Moreover, Pakistan will always facilitate the reconciliation/peace process in Afghanistan for a durable peace in the region.

The visiting US General acknowledged the role played by Pakistan Armed Forces and the sacrifices made in terms of men and material during the war on terror. He added that USA realises the colossal loss of over 40,000 Pakistanis including soldiers and officers of the Armed Forces, as compared to Nato/ISAF forces.

He said that despite highly difficult terrain in border regions and well dug-in enemy, the successes made by Pakistan Armed Forces are highly commendable. He said that Consultative Forums like DCG have helped us cement our military to military relations aimed at improving peace and stability in the region. He further added that continued support in training, education and Coalition Support Fund will be necessary tools to keep relations on solid footing. US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson was also present in the meeting.


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