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Myers Meets With Pakistani Counterpart

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 29, 2003 – Joint Chiefs chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers continued consultations in South Asia with meetings with his Pakistani counterparts here today.

Myers arrived from the Indian capital of New Delhi and immediately began a series of talks with Pakistani leaders.

He discussed strategies and tactics in the ongoing global war on terrorism, continuing Pakistani support for Operation Enduring Freedom and other military-to-military initiatives.

A defense official said the meetings were important to continue the strong bilateral relationship that Pakistan and the United States have established. Myers met with Pakistani Chairman of the Joint Staff Committee Gen. Muhammad Aziz Khan and the rest of the committee at the Joint Staff headquarters.

The leaders discussed in-depth ongoing operations on the border with Afghanistan. Coalition troops working in Afghanistan and Pakistani troops in their country are continuing the military effort to trace Taliban and al Qaeda survivors.

Defense officials said no one knows exactly where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is. They said bin Laden is a lot like Saddam Hussein: He is on the run. Bin Laden has a core group of supporters in the mountainous region between the two countries, and officials expect the terrorist leader moves frequently. Officials said U.S. and Pakistani strategies must be consistent and deliberate to capture or kill bin Laden.

Defense officials said that Pakistan is providing "phenomenal" support to the United States. The country has stepped up troop levels and patrols on the country's border with Afghanistan. Officials said the Pakistanis have detained between 450 and 500 people with ties to terrorists. The country also hosts American personnel involved in logistical support to troops in Afghanistan.

Officials said the American and Pakistani military leaders discussed increasing military-to-military ties and U.S. military support to the Pakistan. The talks between the men help set the stage for military aid talks that will take place in September.

President Purvez Musharraf said during a visit to Washington that Pakistan might help with the stabilization force in Iraq. Officials said that subject did not come up during the meetings today.

Pakistani officials said before such a commitment is made they would like to see the effort come under the umbrella of an international organization such as the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Countries or the Gulf Cooperative Council.

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