Allen to visit Pakistan for border talks


The US commander in Afghanistan will hold talks in Pakistan on Thursday for the first time since Islamabad ended a seven-month blockade on NATO supplies destined for the 10-year war effort.
The Pakistani military said General John Allen would hold talks with army chief General Ashfaq Kayani that would focus on improving security along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
US officials have called repeatedly on Pakistan to move against the Haqqani network, a militant faction linked to Al-Qaeda and loyal to the Afghan Taliban whose leaders are based on Pakistan’s side of the border.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are also locked in public acrimony over attacks carried out across the porous and often unmarked border.
Pakistan says Pakistani Taliban loyal to Maulana Fazlullah are using havens in Afghanistan to resume attacks in northwest three years after he escaped an offensive in the Sway valley.
Afghanistan has complained about cross-border artillery shells and rockets being fired from Pakistan into Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
Allen’s visit comes after Pakistan and the United States signed a deal Tuesday governing NATO convoys travelling to Afghanistan until the end of 2015, well beyond the scheduled withdrawal of the bulk of NATO troops in 2014.
Islamabad on July 3 lifted the longest blockade on NATO traffic of the war in Afghanistan after Washington said sorry for the deaths of 24 Pakistani troops, who were killed in US air strikes last November.
Allen’s visit is a further sign of efforts to repair the fractious war on terror alliance with Pakistan, which plunged to its worst crisis over the November strikes and the US killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.
Lieutenant General Zaheer ul-Islam, the chief of Pakistan’s spy agency is also currently in the United States, the first head of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency to visit Washington in a year