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Top US officials arrive in Islamabad for security talks

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 6, IRNA -- 2 top American officials arrived in Islamabad Monday for talks with Pakistan political and military officials on security issues, official said.

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke are paying their first visit to Islamabad after President Obama announced new US strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Both US officials are likely to call on the President and the Prime Minister.

Holbrooke will also hold meetings with PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif and other political leaders.

The government has welcomed Obama's strategy but the analysts and opposition parties have expressed reservations over the strategy and considered it both tough and difficult for Pakistan.

The officials said that the US officials will meet top government and military officials as well as political leaders to discuss the new US strategy with them.

They said that the Pakistani leadership will raise the issue of US drone attacks inside the tribal regions.

Pakistan is likely to raise the issue of inclusion of some countries, especially India in the US contact group on Afghanistan, officials said.

Pakistani leaders will demand the delivery of drone aircraft to deal with the hideouts of the suspected militants to stop the US attacks.

Analysts say there is no possibility for occurence of any change in US drone attacks policy as the Obama administration has already announced its new strategy.

The new CIA Chief also said that in February the drone attacks will be halted, easing Pakistan’s criticism at the policy.

US has stepped up drone attacks in recent weeks, dashing Pakistan's hopes for a change in the policy in Obama administration.

Recent statements from Mike Mullen and Richard Halbroke expressed mistrust over Pakistan’s policies to curb al-Qaeda and Taliban.

The Foreign Office said the US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan is also scheduled to hold talks with Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday.

Joint press stake out will be preceded by a bilateral meeting, the Foreign Office said.

Holbroke and Admiral Mullen were in Kabul on Sunday and are scheduled to visit India on Wednesday as part of their regional trip.

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