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Pakistani army chief Kayani to visit US

world Updated: Feb 10, 2009 13:43 IST
IANS
Pakistani army chief Kayani to visit US

Pakistani Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will visit the US later this month at a time when the Obama administration is reviewing Washington's policy towards his country and neighbouring Afghanistan.

Kayani arrives in Washington on Feb 22 on a week-long trip on the invitation of his US Army counterpart Gen George W Casey. This will be his first visit to the US since replacing then president Pervez Musharraf as the army chief on Nov 28, 2007.

"He is expected to meet Defence Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and chief of the US Central Command Gen David Petraeus, who oversees the US-led war against terrorism in the Afghan-Pakistan region," Dawn reported on Tuesday.

Kayani, who is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, will also visit his alma mater.

"The general's trip, although being described by the two militaries as a 'formal visit', has generated a lot of interest in Washington's diplomatic circles," Dawn noted.

"It is believed here that he will meet at least some of those US officials who are playing a key role in formulating the future US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Excerpts of the new strategy leaked to the US media show that the United States expects the Pakistan Army to play a key role in eradicating terrorism from the region," Dawn said.

On Tuesday, newly appointed US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan held discussions in Islamabad on the ongoing war against terror on the country's restive western border, where the security forces are battling Al Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Pakistan and the US as a “formal visit”, has generated a lot of interest in Washington’s diplomatic circles.

It is believed that Kayani will meet some of the US officials playing a key role in framing the future US strategy for the region.

Excerpts of the new strategy leaked to the media show that the US expects the Pakistan Army to play a key role in eradicating terrorism from the region.

Kayani, who is a 1988 graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, will also visit his alma mater.