With violence worsening in Afghanistan and Pakistan, top U.S. military officers conducted a secret strategy session with commanders from Islamabad on an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that he came away from the meeting encouraged that Pakistanis are focused on the problem of militants using the country as a safe haven. But he indicated he's not satisfied that Islamabad and Washington are doing the best job they can against the growing threat.
Tuesday's meeting on the carrier came after several weeks of Pakistani offensives against militants in Pakistan's volatile northwest – an effort American officials welcome but say has come nowhere near to stemming growing problems near the Afghan border.
The meeting aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln was the latest of several between Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, chief of staff of the Pakistani army.
Mullen told a Pentagon press conference that this time he also brought Gen. David Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, who will soon leave to become the senior commander in the Middle East, and Adm. Eric Olson, head of the Special Operations Command, and Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, acting commander of American forces in the Middle East.
Also present was Gen. David McKiernan, NATO's commander in Afghanistan.
Mullen didn't give details about discussions with Kayani, but said he has been moving in the right direction.
“Clearly, he's got a challenge,” he said. “I'm encouraged that he's taken action and I also think it's going to take some time.”