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General Raheel to visit US next month


Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif is planned to visit the United States next month for talks with senior US military officials.


This will be the first official visit to the US after his becoming chief of army staff last year.

According to the officials, Gen Sharif is coming to the US on a personal invitation from Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Maritn Dempsey.

During this visit, starting on Nov16, he is scheduled to meet Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Gen Depsey, and Commander of the US Central Command Gen LIoyed J. Austin and other members of the American defense establishment.

He is expected to visit Centcom headquarters in Tampa, Florida, as its area of responsibility includes both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is also the first formal consultations between the top military brass of the two countries after Sep 30, when the United States and Afghanistan signed a bilateral treaty agreement.

The agreement paves the way for deployment some 10,000 US troops planned to stay in Afghanistan after an UN-sponsored international combat mission ends on Dec 31.


Diplomatic observers in Washington are of the view that the agreement will impact on Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism in the bordering territory with Afghanistan.

The agreement on extending the deployment of American troops in Afghanistan is strongly backed by Pakistan.

The agreement goes into force on Jan 1, 2015 and remains in force “until the end of 2024 and beyond’ unless either side terminates it with two years’ notice.

Meanwhile, the US troops are not the only foreign troops staying in Afghanistan.

Kabul signed a similar agreement with NATO on Sept 30 to permit 4,000 to 5,000 extra troops – mainly from Britain, Germany, Italy and Turkey – to remain in Afghanistan in a non-combat role after 2014.

“The Pakistanis feel that the agreement has many implications for their country and want to discuss those implications with their friends in Washington,” said another diplomatic observer while explaining why Islamabad wants to hold detailed talks with the Americans on the treaty.

According to the officials, there will be an elaborate discussion on strategic affairs during Gen Sharif’s visit.

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