ISLAMABAD: General James Mattis, Commander of U.S. Central Command, departed Pakistan Friday after a series of meetings with senior Pakistani leaders.
While here, General Mattis discussed with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Secretary of Defense. Lt Gen (Retd.) Asif Yasin Malik and other senior military officials a wide range of common security issues, to include militant network activities and measures to improve cross -border cooperation, said a statement issued by US embassy on Friday.
General Mattis acknowledged the sacrifices made by the Pakistani military in their fight against violent extremists, and offered his condolences for the nearly 5,000 Pakistani military personnel who have fallen in support of that cause.
The two generals also discussed the strategies of North Waziristan operation.
An operation in North Waziristan for eliminating the Haqqani network’s sanctuaries has been a longstanding demand of the US and is one of the major issues which have been weighing down the ties. However, Pakistani and American officials have agreed to eliminate Hakimullah and his hardline followers in the TTP before targeting the Haqqani network.
General Mattis was grateful for the time afforded him by his Pakistani counterparts and reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Pakistani security relationship, not only to ongoing operations in Afghanistan but also to regional stability.
They agreed to continue to meet periodically to further common objectives on cross-border cooperation and regional security. (APP)