Saturday, January 14, 2023
US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin held a telephonic discussion with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir and “discussed areas of mutual interest as well as recent regional developments,” a statement from the Department of Defence said Saturday.
This was the second high-level interaction between the US and Pakistani defence authorities since General Asim Munir took over as the Army Chief on November 29. US Central Command (Centcom) chief General Michael Erik Kurilla last month visited Pakistan and held a meeting with the army chief.
“Today I had the opportunity to congratulate General Asim Munir, Pakistan’s newly appointed Chief of Army Staff,” the US defence secretary said in a statement.
Austin said that the US and Pakistan have a long-standing defence partnership and “I look forward to working with General Munir.”
During the phone call, the defence department added, the two military leaders discussed areas of mutual interest as well as recent regional developments.
In his last month's visit to the country, General Michael Erik Kurilla met with senior military leaders, observed conditions and operations along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and discussed opportunities to strengthen the military-to-military relationship between Centcom and the Pakistani forces.
At the General Headquarters, General Kurilla met with General Asim Munir and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Sahir Shamshad Mirza.
The leaders discussed security cooperation, security along the Afghanistan border, the threat posed by terror groups in the region, ongoing operations, and opportunities to increase cooperation between Centcom and the Pakistan Army.
During the visit, General Kurilla also traveled to Peshawar to visit the XI Corps headquarters.
General Kurilla and XI Corps leaders traveled by helicopter to visit the Big Ben post overlooking the Khyber Pass, where they observed border security and discussed the cross-border threat of terror groups operating in Afghanistan.