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Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, exchanges views with Commander United States Central Command, General Lloyd J. Austin III, at General Headquarter in Rawalpindi, April 05, 2013. — Photo by PPI

ISLAMABAD: General Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander of US Central Command, departed Pakistan today after a series of meetings with senior Pakistani military leaders.  

While here, General Austin discussed with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Secretary of Defence, Lt Gen (retd) Asif Yasin Malik and other senior military officials a broad range of common security issues, to include militant network activities and measures to improve cross-border cooperation with ISAF forces.

General Austin also acknowledged the sacrifices made by Pakistani security forces and the terrible losses Pakistanis have suffered due to terrorism and violent extremism.  He reaffirmed the importance of the US-Pakistani security relationship to ongoing operations in Afghanistan and also to regional security and stability. All parties agreed to continue to meet periodically to further common objectives and to strengthen cooperation between the two militaries.

General Austin said of his visit: “We had a good meeting and a candid discussion.  Pakistan’s senior military leaders clearly understand their country’s important and unique role in promoting security and stability in Afghanistan and throughout the region as a whole.”