Pakistan leaders to request more military, economic aid in US talks
Pakistan leaders, including the Army chief and foreign minister, are requesting additional military and economic aid during strategic dialogue with US officials.
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The United States considers Pakistan an important ally in the war in Afghanistan, though it has accused Pakistan of not doing enough to combat the Afghan Taliban, and discussion of the two nations’ defense partnership is a large component of the talks. But Pakistan is also asking that the US look beyond the military aspect to build a deeper relationship with economic and development aid. It may also be prepared to offer more assistance cracking down on the Afghan Taliban in return, according to some reports.
Agence France-Presse reports that Pakistani Army head Gen. Ashfaq Kayani met with the head of US Central Command Gen. David Petraeus on Sunday, and then held discussions with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen in Washington Monday. Kayani is due to meet again with Mullen Tuesday. The talks focused on defense issues, and “countering extremist violence in Afghanistan, as well as US support for Pakistan's struggle against violent extremists at home," according to Central Command.
Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, will meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Wednesday to add to the discussion issues like economic development, water, energy, education, communications, public diplomacy, and agriculture, reports AFP. Kayani will handle all security matters during Wednesday's meeting with Mrs. Clinton, Reuters reports.