Thursday, August 20, 2009

CENTCOM chief Petraeus in Pak, to discuss weapons delivery

U.S. Central Command chief General David Petraeus has arrived here to hold discussions with Pakistan’s military leaders on expediting delivery of US equipment to Pakistan so it can expand its offensive against Taliban militants. The Dawn quoted US officials as saying that the Pakistan Army is short of equipment, and needs them for a large-scale ground operation.

‘It is part of a substantial effort to strengthen US-Pakistani military cooperation,’ US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, told a news agency while referring to General Petraeus’s visit. Holbrooke said on Tuesday that Washington was trying to expedite delivery of equipment requested by the Pakistani army, including helicopters and parts.

He said Pakistani army chiefs would also provide General Petraeus with their assessment of the battle in the Swat valley, northwest of Islamabad, after a three-month offensive in which Pakistani forces have pushed back militants. The United States also wants Pakistan to move against other militant factions, based in various areas including North Waziristan, which focus on battling western forces in Afghanistan. But Lieutenant-General Nadeem Ahmed, the Margala Corps Commander, said on Tuesday Pakistan would need months to prepare for a ground offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan.


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