WASHINGTON: Pentagon press secretary George Little said on Wednesday that Pakistan and the United States (US) were continuing dialogue at all levels. Pak-US relations had plunged to their lowest level after the November 26 helicopter strikes on a border check post which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Addressing a press briefing at the Pentagon, Little said that the US had an important military relationship with Pakistan and that the relationship had “hit bumps”, but the the US hoped and looked forward to improving relations with Pakistan.
In response to a question, the Pentagon spokesperson added that Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey had been in contact with Chief Of Army Staff General Kayani in recent days.
“It was a productive and professional conversation.”
Little refused to comment on the sacking of the Pakistani Defence Secretary, saying it was Pakistan’s internal matter.
Answering a question about rumours of a coup in Pakistan and whether the US had sought assurances that the army would not do a coup, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Media Operations Captain John Kirby said that he was not aware if the US had sought any such assurances from the Pakistani Army, nor was he aware if they had been given them.
“This is a matter for Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders to work out.”
Replying to a question on the recent drone strike in Pakistan and its effect on Pak-US ties, Little refused to comment directly on the counterterrorism operations in the Pak-Afghan region, however he said that the US remained committed in its efforts to damage al Qaeda,
“That remains a top national security priority for us,” adding that extremists in the region were a threat for US allies and for Pakistan as well.
Earlier on Tuesday after a lull of about 55 days, the valleys of Pakistan’s tribal region reverberated once more with missile fire from stealthy US air borne drones. Two missiles destroyed a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal area near the Afghan border.