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US-Pak agree to continue counter terrorism cooperation beyond Afghanistan

Washington: A meeting of top defence official of the US and Pakistan have agreed to continue their counter-terrorism co-operation and strengthen their military to military ties in coming years, much beyond their cooperation in Afghanistan.

The 22nd meeting of the Defence Consultative Group (DCG) held at the Pentagon was co-chaired by the US Under Secretary of Defence for Policy James N Miller and Pak Lt Gen (Rtd) Asif Yasin Malik, on Thursday and Friday.

"Affirming their mutual commitment to a strong defence relationship, the delegations agreed that Pakistan-US defence partnership is vital to regional and international security and that it should continue to endure and grow in the years ahead," said a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting.

Reuters

A meeting of top defence official of the US and Pakistan have agreed to continue their counter-terrorism co-operation and strengthen their military to military ties in coming years. Reuters

"Both delegations welcomed continued efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation based on mutual interests and trust.

Both delegations acknowledged that bilateral counter terrorism cooperation has been critical to weakening violent extremists and agreed that it will continue after 2014," the joint statement said yesterday.

The DCG is the primary forum for exchanging views and coordinating defence policy with the goal of strengthening defence cooperation to support each country?s security interests. The last meeting was held in December 2012 in Rawalpindi.

Both the delegations shared their respective assessments of the bilateral relationship and discussed strategic priorities in areas of mutual strategic interest, including counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and maritime security, agreeing to enhance partnership in these areas and broaden cooperation to other areas that serve their mutual interests, the statement said.

While the Pakistan delegation provided an update on its military campaign along the Pak- Afghan border, the American delegation briefed on International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) activities in Afghanistan, including the 2013 transition of lead for security to the Afghan National Security Forces.

"The United States recognised Pakistan?s success in its counter-terrorism campaign this year, as well as Pakistan?s broader efforts to achieve internal security," the joint statement said, adding that both sides reviewed the challenges to regional security, during which they emphasising the importance of regional peace and stability, especially following the US drawdown in Afghanistan.

"Recognising the mutual desirability of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, the US delegation thanked Pakistan for its support for promoting reconciliation and reaffirmed the US commitment to continued engagement in the region," the joint statement said.

Underscoring the critical significance of cross-border cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan to achieve shared objectives, the two delegations expressed satisfaction on the Lines of Communication (LOCs).

The US delegation noted Pakistan?s positive efforts to counter threats from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). To bolster this cooperation both sides agreed to continue working together to build counter-IED capacity, it added.

PTI