US, Pakistan commanders in `candid` talks on war

The Pakistani military said the meeting was focused on regional security.

Muscat: Top US and Pakistani military commanders held talks in the Gulf on Wednesday in what Pakistan called a move to coordinate better the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda on Afghan border.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and Pakistan`s Army chief of staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, met in the Oman capital Muscat at a key juncture in US efforts to turn the tide on the nine-year war in Afghanistan.

The United States wants Pakistan to eliminate bases used by the Taliban and the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network on its side of the border with Afghanistan, where 140,000 US-led NATO troops are trying to speed an end to the war.

A US military official described the meeting as "very candid" with "very productive discussions".

General David Petraeus, the commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, also took part in the talks.

The Pakistani military said the meeting was focused on regional security and would "explore new ways to better coordinate military operations".

Pakistan`s powerful military have been angered by accusations from US officials that they support Taliban and al Qaeda-linked networks fighting US troops in Afghanistan, and need to do more to eliminate Islamist militants.

Since 2002, Pakistan has pressed numerous offensives against homegrown Taliban holed up in its northwest where more than 2,000 soldiers have died.

The often fraught alliance between Pakistan and the United States has been hard hit by Pakistan`s detention of a CIA contractor for killing two men whom Washington says has full immunity and should be released immediately.

Bureau Report

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