DG ISI heads to US on official visit

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ISLAMABAD: Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar left for USA Wednesday on his first ever visit to hold talks with top US intelligence officials on regional security, Afghanistan and counter terrorism.  “The DG ISI [has] proceeded to USA for an official visit,” a short statement from Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. “During the visit he will meet his counterparts and discuss issues related to intelligence,” the ISPR spokesman said. According to sources, Gen Rizwan will meet senior officials at the National Security Council (NSC) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Chief John O. Brennan.

Earlier in November last year, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif visited the US where he held talks with senior US military commanders and defence officials.

During his visit, the COAS had also called on the US Central Command (Centcom) chief General Lloyd J. Austin who had praised the Pakistan Army for its commitment, professionalism and achievement in the fight against terror as well as the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb operation.

Pakistan’s fight against terrorism entered a new phase after the Dec 16 Peshawar school tragedy with government categorically stating that distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban had been given up.

Gen Raheel had also met International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) commander General Joseph Dunford. Dunford had condemned the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar and had assured Pakistan of complete cooperation in countering terrorism and in security-related matters.

Pakistan’s military in mid-June had launched an all-out operation, named ‘Zarb-i-Azb’, against militants in the region which is still under way.

Moreover, months into Zarb-i-Azb, the army also launched Khyber 1, an operation to clear out militant strongholds in the tribal region of Khyber.