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Mullen Travels to Pakistan to 'Continue Dialogue' on Afghan Border Region

By Air Force Master Sgt. Adam M. Stump
Special to American Forces Press Service

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 17, 2008 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived here yesterday to "continue dialogue" with senior Pakistani civilian and military leaders.

During this fifth visit to Pakistan as chairman, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen met with Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani and other senior government and military officials to discuss ongoing operations in the border region with Afghanistan.

"We work very closely with our Pakistan and Afghanistan partners," Mullen said. "This is a critical relationship, and we are always looking for ways to make it better."

Mullen, in the region for the Multinational Force Iraq change of command, said frequent meetings and phone calls help the two countries to continue forging a closer relationship.

"I am focused on working more closely with the Pakistani military to improve coordination and effectiveness in operations against extremist safe havens in the border regions," the chairman said. "This meeting provides both sides yet another opportunity to do that better. It's about continuing the dialogue."

Mullen said he has "a great amount of respect" for Kayani and what he's trying to accomplish.

"I have been encouraged by what General Kayani and the Pakistani army have been willing to do in the border regions," the chairman said. "They recognize the threat they face internal to Pakistan and are improving their counterinsurgency capabilities. This is a critical part of the world with unique demands -- we are working closely together to solve the issues."

(Air Force Master Sgt. Adam M. Stump is assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Public Affairs Office.)

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Navy Adm. Mike Mullen


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