Pakistani army chief Kayani to visit US

February 10th, 2009 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez MusharrafIslamabad, Feb 10 (IANS) 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 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 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 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.

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