Washington: In indications of a thaw in
US-Pak ties, a top US General has said he plans to travel to
Pakistan in next ten days for talks to reopen NATO supply
routes to Afghanistan.
General James Mattis, Commander of US Central Command,
said he planned to make the visit to hold talks with Pakistani
military leaders. This would be the first high-level visit of
a US military leader after the November 26 border incident in
which 24 Pak soldiers were killed which led to closing down of
Mattis said that though the NATO had managed to keep supplies
flowing into Afghanistan, but the Americans needed the land
routes open from Pakistan to carry out withdrawl of forces
from the embattled nation.
"We have proven that we can sustain the campaign through
the Northern Distribution Network and through what we call our
multimodal, which is basically part by air, part by sea,
resupply of our effort there," the general told the Senate
Armed Services Committee.
"I will fly to Pakistan in about ten days and we will
reopen the discussions," Mattis said, replying "yes", when
asked if he was optimistic on lifting off the blockade.
US officials are confident that Pakistan will soon reopen
the land routes once a Parliamentary review of the US-Pak
relations is complete.
The American general said the Parliamentary review would
be over before he arrives for talks in Islamabad.
"I think the Parliamentary process as far as the new
relationship with the United States will be reported out by
that point and I think their military will be able to engage
with us," he said.