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US, Pakistan talk strategy in Indian Ocean
August 28, 2008 14:57 IST
Top US and Pakistani army commanders had a highly unusual secret meeting on board an American aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean to discuss how to combat the escalating violence along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The leading actors in the day long conference were Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pakistan Army [Images] Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the New York Times reported.
The paper said the meeting had been convened on Wednesday by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
While officials of the two allies offered few details on Wednesday about what was decided or even discussed at the meeting -- including any new strategies, tactics, weapons or troop deployment -- the star-studded list of participants and an extreme secrecy surrounding the talks, New York Times said the talks underscored how gravely the two nations regarded the growing militant threat.
Also present were Lt Gen Martin E Dempsey, acting commander of American forces in the Middle-East and Rear Admiral Michael A LeFever, the senior American military liaison to Pakistan.
Pakistan, increasingly deadly attacks against Afghan and western targets in Afghanistan and American complaints that Pakistani military has been ineffective in stemming the flow of militants who launch attacks in Afghanistan from Pakistani havens.
Admiral Muller had met Gen Kayani just a month back in Islamabad [Images] where the Indian Ocean sojourn was set up, the official said. During the meeting the American commander had bluntly warned Kayani that Pakistan had to do more to combat militants in the restive tribal areas.
The gathering on board the Abraham Lincoln was less confrontational in tone, aides said.
The New York Times said that military officials from both the countries declined to say whether commanders had reached any new agreement to allow US special operations forces greater access to Pakistan's tribal areas to conduct missions to kill or capture top leaders of Al-Qaeda [Images] who have found sanctuary there.
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