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Defense Spokesman Reaffirms Good U.S.-Pakistan Relationship

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2008 – The United States and Pakistan are allies, and news reports saying Pakistani border troops would fire on U.S. forces are in error, a senior Defense Department official said here today.

U.S. forces “enjoy good cooperation with Pakistan” along the Afghan-Pakistani border, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters. Pakistan, Whitman said, also is a U.S. ally in the global war on terror.

Whitman addressed news reports describing Pakistani concern because of alleged U.S. military anti-terrorist actions along the Afghan-Pakistani border. One such article featured a senior Pakistani military officer who implied that Pakistani forces had the right to fire on allied forces that crossed into Pakistani territory from Afghanistan.

The United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan “all appreciate the challenges that are presented by the border and are working to mitigate the threats that exist not only along the border, but also inside Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Whitman said.

Whitman said the government of Pakistan is expected to clarify certain “out of context” comments made by the senior Pakistani military official.

“If you were to check with the government of Pakistan, they are correcting the record, so to speak, on that statement,” Whitman said.

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