US military chief visits Islamabad on second leg of tour

Top US military officer Admiral Mike Mullen arrived in Pakistan on Saturday after a visit to Afghanistan.

Islamabad: Top US military officer
Admiral Mike Mullen arrived in Pakistan on Saturday after a visit to
Afghanistan aimed at providing reassurance after the sacking
of the US commander there.

Mullen was due to meet President Asif Ali Zardari,
chief of the army staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the
head of the air force, the US embassy said.

Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of
Staff, said earlier he was visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan
to reassure leaders that Washington`s strategy would not be
affected by the shock departure of the head of US and NATO
forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal.

Ahead of Mullen`s visit, the chief of staff of the
US air force, General Norton Schwartz, already arrived in
Pakistan and visited the country`s air force headquarters, a
separate statement issued by the embassy said.

Schwartz had placed a wreath at a monument to
perished Pakistani air force pilots "to honour the sacrifices
made by Pakistan`s security forces and citizens in their fight
against violent extremists," the embassy added.

Pakistani media reported today that three F-16
Fighting Falcon jets had reached Pakistan as part of a
delivery of 18 new F-16 jets from the United States.

The sale of F-16s marks a renewal of aircraft sales
by the United States to Pakistan that took place in the 1980s
but were halted in the 1990s, a US embassy statement issued
yesterday said.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other US
officials "have spoken out about `not repeating the mistakes`
of the US halt in relations with Pakistan in the late 1980s
and early 1990s," it added.


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