COAS, US Defense Secretary discuss ‘recent regional developments’

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WASHINGTON (ANN): Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir and US Defense Secretary Lloyd J Austin have discussed “areas of mutual interest as well as recent regional developments”, according to the US Department of Defense.

In a brief statement, the US Defense Department noted that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Munir and US Defense Secretary Austin, during a phone call, discussed “areas of mutual interest” and “recent regional developments” between the two countries.

However, the Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan military’s media wing, has yet to report the development.

Brig-General Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon Press Secretary, confirmed the telephonic conversation between the top officials.

This was the second high-level interaction between US defence secretary and Pakistan Army Chief since the latter took over as the army chief last year in November.

In December 2022, US Central Command (Centcom) Chief General Michael Erik Kurilla had visited Pakistan and held a meeting with the army chief.

Terrorist activities have alarmingly surged in Pakistan, as according to a recent report by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), an independent think-tank, at least 271 militant attacks took place during the first half of 2023, claiming the lives of 389 people and wounding 656 others.

It may be mentioned here that this is the second time that Gen Munir and the US defense secretary spoke over the telephone.

The first time the Pakistan army chief and the US defense secretary spoke was in January. The US defence secretary had called the Pakistan army chief to congratulate on assuming the charge then.

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