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ISLAMABAD, Nov 2: Pakistan and Australia held talks on security matters on Friday and discussed prospects for expanding defence cooperation.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne co-chaired the sixth round of Pakistan-Australia Defence and Security Talks and the third round of Pakistan-Australia 1.5 Track Security Dialogue with Australian Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Hurley in Canberra, Australia.

“During the talks matters relating to mutual cooperation between the two armed forces came under discussion with special reference to the region and upcoming transition in Afghanistan,” a military spokesman said in Rawalpindi after the talks.

The two countries have been holding bilateral defence and security talks since 2006. The 1.5 Track Security Dialogue was initiated in 2010.

The talks involve the two governments, while the 1.5 Track Dialogue involves a number of key decision makers and think tanks from both sides.

Defence cooperation has increased considerably as a result of the two mechanisms. The focus of cooperation has been on training programmes.

During the talks the two sides discussed the security challenges confronting Pakistan, particularly the rise of violent extremism and how Canberra could help Islamabad in countering it.

“Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne elaborated upon the militant threat being faced by Pakistan and the sacrifices rendered therein by Pakistani people and the armed forces in fighting terrorism,” the military spokesman said.

The situation in Afghanistan and the challenges facing Isaf forces as they withdraw from the country also came up during the discussion.

Australia has lost 39 soldiers and spent $10 billion in the war in Afghanistan.