Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Mullen Expresses Confidence in U.S.-Pakistan Relationship
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
military has analyzed the situation to determine what the effects would be if the route was closed for a longer period, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters between speaking engagements Oct. 1 in U.S. , but officials are hoping such a closure can be averted. Tucson, Ariz.
“I believe we will figure a way to work our way through this,” he said, emphasizing
’s importance as a strategic partner. Pakistan
About 50 percent of coalition forces’ non-lethal supplies, including water, food and fuel, reach
through Afghanistan ’s Torkham and Shaman gates. Pakistan
Mullen, who has visited
20 times since taking the top military post in 2007, said the Pakistan has been working to rebuild Pakistani trust. How that’s resolved, he said, will go a long way toward shaping the future U.S.-Pakistani relationship. United States
“We left them in a dark hole from about 1990 to 2002, and they don’t trust us,” he said. “We are trying to rebuild that trust. And it’s basically coming, but you don’t rebuild it overnight.”
This effort, he noted, comes at a time of “enormous challenge” for
, whose border with Pakistan is “the epicenter of terrorism.” Afghanistan
Massive flooding has compounded
’s struggles. “They have just been devastated,” said Mullen, who toured flood-stricken areas of Pakistan last month with Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Pakistani army’s chief of staff. Pakistan
Meanwhile, the American military continues to provide relief to flood victims in northwestern
. Pakistan military aid operations began Aug. 5 with Army helicopters from U.S. delivering supplies and rescuing those trapped by flooding. Marine helicopters from the USS Peleliu replaced the Army aircraft, and together they have delivered more than 8 million pounds or relief supplies, reported DOD spokesman Marine Col. David Lapan. Afghanistan
Air Force C-130s and C-17s have been delivering aid since Aug. 16. As of last week, airmen have delivered more than 5.5 million pounds of aid. This brings the total to almost 13.7 million pounds of aid, Lapan said.
military aircraft have rescued more than 20,000 displaced Pakistanis. U.S.
“Flood relief efforts continue,” Lapan said. “It has not been curbed, but there are ongoing discussions about what the need is, because there are now roads open that were not previously.”