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U.S. CENTCOM head meet Pakistan’s chief of army

AT News

Kabul: CENTCOM commander General Michael “Erik” Kurilla met with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the Pakistan Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Pakistan to discuss security issues of mutual interest including situation in Afghanistan.

Centcom chief Michael E Kurilla met with COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa; both discuss counter-terror programmes, reported The Express Tribune.

This was the first visit of Commander of the US Central Command (Centcom) General Michael E Kurilla since he was given the new role in April.

This was also the first visit by any top US general to Pakistan since the then Centcom chief General Kenneth McKenzie visited Islamabad in February 2021, reported The Express Tribune.

Though there has been interaction between the two militaries but no American general visited Pakistan in the last 18 months, suggesting a hiccup in the bilateral relationship because of a chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The new Centcom chief spoke with army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on July 30, just 48 hours before the CIA drone strike killed al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul.

There have been claims that Pakistan offered its air space or even ground basis for US drone to conduct military operations in Afghan soil including the one that allegedly killed Al-zawahiri.

Pakistan, however, dismissed claims that the drone flew from its soil or its airspace was used.

“Matters of mutual interest, regional security situation & stability, defence and security cooperation particularly military to military ties were discussed during the meeting,” the military’s media wing said.

Pakistan and the US have longstanding defence ties, starting from the Cold War times. At one time Pakistan was dubbed as the “most allied” ally of the US. The close defence ties helped Pakistan get access to some of the advanced military hardware.

The US increasing defence and strategic ties with India has worried Pakistan. Islamabad felt that Washington’s defence deals with New Delhi would harm the country’s interests, reported The Express Tribune.

Another factor that has shaken the longstanding relationship between Pakistan and the US is Islamabad’s ever-growing ties with Beijing, something Washington views with much suspicion.

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