U.S. Defense Department leaders met on Wednesday with Pakistan's army chief of staff to discuss military-to-military partnership and security assistance, the Pentagon said, Xinhua reported.
The talks were part of the 3rd U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue under way this week. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy met with Pakistani Army Chief of Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and members of his staff earlier in the day.
During the meeting, Gates told the Pakistani side the United States is "committed to the security and development of Afghanistan over the long term, but beyond Afghanistan and the important role Pakistan plays in the ultimate successful outcome in that country, we wish to build a long-term, wide-ranging ( relationship) with Pakistan on its own merits," Morrell said.
Morrell said Gates also apologized for the "unintentional" attack on a border guard post that killed three Pakistani soldiers in September. He said the meeting also covered the need to better coordinate operations along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The discussion also featured security assistance topics including coalition support funds, the Pakistani counterinsurgency capabilities fund and foreign military sales, Morrell said.
According to the Pakistani side, Kayani and other officials from his country also will meet with other U.S. officials during their three-day visit here.