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Pentagon: US-Pakistan Military Cooperation Unaffected by Emergency Rule

A senior U.S. military officer says there has so far not been any impact on U.S.-Pakistani military cooperation, since the declaration of a State of Emergency in Pakistan on Saturday. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon.

Lieutenant General Carter Ham says the cooperation with Pakistani forces along the country's border with Afghanistan has not been affected by the political turmoil in Pakistan. "From an operational standpoint, the commanders on the ground are not reporting yet any noticeable difference in the relationship, in the communication that they have with their Pakistani counterparts on the other side of the border," he said.

General Ham, who is in charge of monitoring worldwide operations for the senior U.S. military staff, says cooperation with Pakistan is important in fighting extremist groups that operate along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. He says the more coordination there is between government forces on both sides of the border, the more successful their efforts are.

"Those military operations conducted by forces on either side of the border are done with increasing openness, collaboration, synchronization. There's good communication between U.S. and Afghan forces on one side and the Pakistan forces on the other. And we would certainly not want to see that jeopardized in any way," he said.

General Ham says continued cooperation with Pakistan is also important because of the country's role in allowing the United States and other countries to keep their forces in Afghanistan supplied. "Well over half of the supplies, the sustainment, for forces in Afghanistan come either through or over Pakistan. So it is very, very important for us in that regard," he said.

The U.S. government is reviewing its aid to Pakistan in the wake of the emergency declaration, including military aid and sales. But senior officials say they are taking into account the importance of Pakistan's help with the fighting in Afghanistan, and the broader war on terrorism.

General Ham also reports several attempts by Taliban forces to confront NATO forces in Afghanistan directly in large numbers have failed. He says the Taliban may now be reverting to terror tactics, like the large-scale suicide bombing in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday. He called that "a worrisome trend." And he says there is some concern the Taliban may be trying to conduct as many attacks as possible before the winter sets in.