US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta hopes that Pakistan would help America curb terrorism in the region.
Washington: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta hopes that Pakistan would help America curb terrorism in the region, given the improved ties between the two sides with reopening of the ground line of communication and the recent visit of ISI chief to the United States.
At the same time, the Pentagon expressed its concern over cross-border terrorism coming into Afghanistan from Pakistan.
"It has been very important that we do everything possible to try to get Pakistan to take the right steps on their side of the border. And the reality is that the communication, the relationship has gotten better," Panetta told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.
Panetta was referring to the now frequent meetings between General John Allen, the commander of US and NATO forces inside Afghanistan, and Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.
In fact, top US military leadership including Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey would also be meeting General Kayani soon, he said.
"We are making progress with regards to other areas of assistance. The one area that we are making particular progress with is trying to develop better cross-border operations so that both the Pakistanis and the United States and Afghans are working on those border areas to identify terrorists who are creating havoc there," Panetta said.
The defence secretary said there is no question that there are terrorists that are coming across from Pakistan who wind up in Afghanistan and then cause some cross-border incidents across the way.
"What General Allen is hoping to do is that the Pakistanis can help the United States identify the terrorists on the Afghan side of the border, and we could help identify some of the terrorists on the Pakistani side of the border so that there can be better coordination to try to deal with these kinds of cross-border incidents," Panetta told reporters.
Panetta said the US is encouraged that Pakistan has now taken a more positive, visible step to advance America`s shared objective of a secure and peaceful Afghanistan.
"Their decision to open up the NATO supply lines means a great deal to us in terms of our ability to transit containers and materiel that are now moving across the border into Afghanistan. Similarly, cross-border cooperation with Pakistan is increasing," he said.
The frequent meetings between General Allen and General Kayani are helping improve cross-border cooperation. "It is helping us try to confront the challenge of these insurgent sanctuaries which exist on both sides of the border," he said.