America's top military officer says he is encouraged by Pakistani actions to quell violence along the border with Afghanistan. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, senior U.S. and Pakistani military leaders met this week on an American aircraft carrier to discuss the violence.
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, says he met with the Chief of Staff for the Pakistani Army, General Ashfaq Kayani, to better understand the problem of cross-border Taliban violence as seen through the eyes of the Pakistani commander who has to fight the extremist problem in his own country.
"He is very consistent in what he is doing," Adm. Mullen said. "He has thought this through. And he continues to move forward in an area that involves obviously the Pak military, his authorities over the Frontier Corps as well. And so expectations for instantaneous results I think are probably a little bit too high."
Mullen and Kayani were joined Wednesday on a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean by the top American commander in Iraq, General David Petreaus, as well as other ranking U.S. and Pakistani officers.
Briefing reporters at the Pentagon Thursday, Mullen says he is encouraged by Pakistani actions to try to stop cross-border attacks. Pakistani security forces say they killed at least 44 militants in a tribal region Wednesday in a weeks-long offensive that has displaced thousands of people.
Mullen says the Indian Ocean meeting was not about U.S. commanders demanding greater action from their Pakistani colleagues, but rather an effort to discuss how best the two countries can confront the problem together.
"There was no ultimatum. In my view, that does not work in this kind of relationship building,"he said. "More than anything else, I think it was that we clearly went through what the challenges are, the specifics of it, what we think the threat is, how to get at it."
Concern about the Taliban threat has grown following last week's attack against one of the largest U.S. military bases in Afghanistan and the ambush of 10 French paratroopers. The Taliban is using Pakistani territory to launch many of its attacks inside Afghanistan.
Focusing more Pakistani military resources on the border area is complicated by the country's political instability following the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf.
Mullen said there is clearly the recognition that the political process in Pakistan is, in his words, pretty challenging.