Top NATO commander meets Pak Army chief

Islamabad: Top commander of NATO-led forces forces in Afghanistan today held talks with Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on operations in areas along the Afghan border and mechanisms to avoid "untoward incidents". A delegation of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), led by its commander US Gen John Allen, arrived in the garrison city of Rawalpindi today, the Pakistani military said in a statement.

The delegation is visiting the country for a meeting of the Tripartite Commission of ISAF, Afghanistan and Pakistan. "Preliminary bilateral meetings were held with a Pakistan Army delegation, led by Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. "Talks focused on operations in border areas and coordination mechanisms to avoid untoward incidents," the military statement said without giving details.

The Tripartite Commission is expected to meet after the Afghan National Army chief, Gen Sher Muhammad Karimi, arrives in Pakistan tomorrow. Relations between the Pakistani military and ISAF have been strained since 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a cross-border NATO air strike in November. Pakistan responded to the attack by shutting all NATO supply routes and forcing US troops to vacate Shamsi airbase, considered a hub for CIA-operated drones.

The ISAF delegation is visiting Pakistan ahead of crucial meetings of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet and the federal cabinet next week that will discuss the reopening of the supply routes and President Asif Ali Zardari`s participation in a NATO Summit to be held in Chicago from May 20.