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US General meets Pakistan Army Chief

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 14, IRNA -- US Central Command Commander Gen. James Mattis met with Pakistan’s Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani Wednesday to share perspectives on current relationship between two militaries and to review the way ahead, US Embassy said Wednesday.

The embassy said that General Mattis visited Pakistan 'as part of his routine of visiting and consulting with senior Pakistani military and security officials.'

Gen. Mattis also met the Chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne, and discussed matters related to regional security situation with special emphasis on war on terror, an army statement said.

Top military leaders met amid growing tension over suspension of US military aid to Pakistan.

General James N. Mattis is the first top US commander to visit Pakistan after the US suspended military aid to Pakistan, which analysts believe may harm ties between the two armies – close allies in war against al-Qaeda and Taliban.

The US announced on Sunday it has suspended payment of $800 million aid to Pakistan Army as Islamabad has taken certain steps which justified cancellation of the assistance.

US media reports that the US took the decision after Pakistan expelled over 100 American military trainers. The move is also aimed at mounting pressure on Pakistan to take more steps against the militants, according to reports. The US media said that Pakistan has also refused visas to US military officers, which also annoyed the Obama Administration.

Pakistan Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar Tuesday warned in a TV interview that his government will withdraw troops from the tribal regions if the US cuts military aid.

The US suspension of military aid would also affect $300 million for expenses of troops that Pakistan has deployed along the Afghan border to check illegal cross border movement.

Mukhtar warned that US aid suspension can harm Pakistan campaign against al-Qaeda and Taliban.

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