A US delegation, led by Gen Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, Commander of US Centcom, meets Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday.—Online
A US delegation, led by Gen Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, Commander of US Centcom, meets Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday.—Online

ISLAMABAD: US Central Command (Centcom) Commander Gen Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr on Monday called on Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed with him geo-strategic environment and regional security, including the situation in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

Gen McKenzie — who has been in Pakistan since Sept 7 — met Gen Bajwa with his delegation, the military’s media affairs wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a press release.

The Centcom chief had arrived in Islamabad along with a 17-member delegation on Saturday. He visited the Tarbela dam and toured various components of the project, including the main dam, spillways, reservoir and the powerhouse.

Accompanied by US Ambassador to Pakistan Paul Jones and others, Gen McKenzie was briefed about the project by Water and Power Development Authority chairman (Wapda) retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain.

Meeting also reviews geo-strategic environment

On the occasion, the US delegation had observed that the US recent grant worth $41 million would extend the useful life of the Tarbela powerhouse by 15-20 years and restore 148 megawatts of its power generation capacity.

Earlier in April, Gen McKenzie met Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed US-Pakistan relations and the Afghan peace talks among other issues.

The prime minister, in his meeting with Gen McKenzie, had expressed his “long standing commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan through a political settlement”.

The premier had also highlighted the importance of continuing military cooperation between Pakistan and US in order to counter “emerging threats”, including the militant Islamic State group, which is concentrated on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Gen McKenzie — who took over as head of US Centcom in May after General Joseph Votel’s retirement — during his previous two-day stay in Islamabad, had also met Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Hayat, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshall Mujahid Anwar and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Abbasi.

In his meetings, Gen McKenzie had reaffirmed the United States commitment to security and stability in the region.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2019