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U.S., Pakistani military leaders to meet

March 28, 2012 at 8:30 AM   |   Comments

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 28 (UPI) -- Top U.S. military officials were in Pakistan to meet with their counterparts in the first high-level talks since NATO airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The Pakistani military said Gen. James Mattis, commander of the U.S. Central Command, and Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, would meet with Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to discuss the Nov. 24 airstrike near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in which two dozen Pakistani soldiers died, CNN reported Wednesday.

U.S. and Pakistani officials have disagreed about events surrounding the airstrikes, which has further strained already tense relations between the two countries.

The issue of coordinating different forces near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, cited as a contributing factor to the soldiers' deaths, also would be discussed, CNN said.

An investigation into the November NATO airstrikes by Brig. Gen. Stephen Clark on behalf of the United States concluded Pakistan provoked NATO forces and distrust led to the firefight. Pakistan has disputed the findings, saying the report was based on incorrect facts.

Pakistan's lawmakers are expected to begin debating this week a committee's recommendation that the United States end its drone attacks inside Pakistan's territory and apologize for the November airstrikes.

In South Korea Tuesday, U.S. President Obama met with Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani for the first time since the soldiers' deaths. Obama said he hoped relations between United States and Pakistan could achieve a "balanced approach."

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