Mullen sees ‘very difficult’ time in US-Pakistan ties

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The top US military chief on Monday warned that US-Pakistan military-to-military ties were at a “very difficult” crossroads, allowing that a path to progress on that front was not yet clear.
“We are in a very difficult time right now in our military-to-military relations,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen told a press briefing billed as his last before retirement. Despite the strain, Mullen said “I don’t think that we are close to severing” those ties. And the retiring admiral said he hoped the two nations would soon find a way to “recalibrate” those ties. Still, Mullen acknowledged, “we need to work through the details of how this (recalibration) is going to happen”. Mullen has suggested that the Pakistan Army or the ISI likely killed journalist Saleem Shahzad, who had reported about militants infiltrating the military. On a visit to Washington, former president Pervez Musharraf staunchly defended the army and the ISI. He denied any Pakistani support for bin Laden. Admiral James Winnefeld, nominated to be the number two US military officer, described Pakistan as a “very, very difficult partner”. “We don’t always share the same worldview or the same opinions or the same national interest,” Winnefeld told his Senate confirmation hearing last week.