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US Military Chief: Rebuilding US-Pakistan Ties Will Take Time

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, speaks at Memorial Day Rolling Thunder event in Washington, May 29, 2011 (file photo).

The top U.S. military official says Pakistan needs time to sort out internal problems before it can begin to rebuild relations with the United States.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, acknowledged Thursday that the U.S. has made "significant" cuts to its military training staff in Pakistan.

Mullen told reporters in Washington that Pakistan must first complete its internal debate on what kind of relationship it wants with the United States, before any such training can restart.

Relations between the two countries have hit a low point following the U.S. military raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2. Pakistani leaders have warned against any future unilateral actions, calling the operation a violation of the country's sovereignty.

Ties were already strained before the al-Qaida leader's death, following a series of U.S. drone strikes against militants in Pakistan's northwest and the detention of a CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in January.

Pakistan has since demanded a curtailing of CIA and U.S. Special Forces operatives in Pakistan and an end to the missile strikes by unmanned aircraft inside Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.