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Defence talks with US begin today

Updated February 24, 2014
The United States had long been pushing Pakistan to launch a military operation in Fata, particularly in North Waziristan. Pakistan, however, resisted the pressure and instead hoped to end militancy through dialogue with the Taliban.— File photo
The United States had long been pushing Pakistan to launch a military operation in Fata, particularly in North Waziristan. Pakistan, however, resisted the pressure and instead hoped to end militancy through dialogue with the Taliban.— File photo

WASHINGTON: Pakistan and the United States will hold military-to-military talks here on Monday against the backdrop of actions taken to destroy militant hideouts in Fata.

Defence Secretary Asif Yasin Malik will lead the Pakistani delegation at the talks which are parts of regular consultations between the defence establishments of the two countries.

Although both countries are trying to eradicate terrorism from the Pak-Afghan region, they had until recently serious differences over how to combat the militants.

The United States had long been pushing Pakistan to launch a military operation in Fata, particularly in North Waziristan. Pakistan, however, resisted the pressure and instead hoped to end militancy through dialogue with the Taliban. But a spate of terrorist attacks that killed more than 400 people in two months forced the Pakistani government to order military actions against the Taliban.

The bombing and strafing at militant targets in Fata have been welcomed in Washington and State Department officials have offered to help “build Pakistan’s capacity to fight militancy”.

But they have avoided making direct comments, saying that the Pakistani government was fully capable of dealing with this threat and did not need external support to do so.

“We have a constant dialogue with the Pakistani government on counter-terrorism efforts and building their capacity to fight this threat,” said State Department's deputy spokesperson Mari Harf. “We are concerned about it, the Pakistani government is concerned about it.”

Monday's talks are part of a process called the defence review conference. The DRC, which started recently, allows the two allies to review both immediate threats and long-term strategic plans.

The two countries have another dialogue process called the defence consultative group, which has already held more than 20 sessions.

These processes are not part of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue but feed into that.