ISLAMABAD, March 8: President Gen Pervez Musharraf held talks on Wednesday with a senior US military general on escalating tension with neighbouring Afghanistan and demanded intelligence sharing by Kabul on militants in ‘real time’’ to help improve security along their border, officials said.
President Musharraf met US Central Command chief Gen John Abizaid in Rawalpindi days after a weekend visit by US President George W. Bush.
During the meeting, President Musharraf stressed the need for improving security on the Afghan side of the border and called for greater coordination and sharing of ‘actionable intelligence in real time’ to track down militants, the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement.
President Musharraf and Gen Abizaid talked about the tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a military official told AP on the condition of anonymity.
The ISPR statement quoted President Musharraf as telling the US general that Pakistan had prevented militants from infiltrating into Afghanistan and destroyed several of their sanctuaries.
Our Reporter adds: Gen Abizaid lauded the role played by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. “Pakistan, which is the frontline state in the war on terror, has done more than any other country to combat terrorism,” he said.
He referred to sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani security forces in the operation against terrorists in the border region. He said Pakistan was playing a critical role in fighting terrorism and promoting peace in the region and the world by weeding out the menace of terrorism.
The president discussed with the Centcom chief the situation on Pakistan’s western borders, cooperation between Pakistan and the United States in the ongoing war against terrorism. Ways to intelligence sharing and speedy exchange of information were also discussed.
Referring to the successes Pakistan has achieved in anti-terror war, President Musharraf said that over 80,000 troops deployed at the Afghan border had effectively checked cross-border infiltration and destroyed several sanctuaries through targeted operations against militants.
Earlier, the Centcom chief visited the army General Headquarters where he met Vice Chief of Army Staff Gen Ahsan Hyat and discussed with him ways and means to further increase cooperation between the armed forces of the US and Pakistan.
Gen Abizaid is making a two-day visit to Pakistan after stops in Iraq and Afghanistan. His Florida-based Central Command has responsibility for American military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, other parts of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia and the Horn of Africa.