They also reviewed bilateral cooperation between the two militaries, Xinhua reported citing a statement issued by the military.

Austin, who arrived on Wednesday, held talks with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen. Rashad Mahmood and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

"During the meeting, the two discussed matters of bilateral professional interest," the statement said while giving no further details.

The visit of the American commander is taking place amid important developments in the region including the peace talks with the Taliban in Pakistan and the upcoming elections in Afghanistan.

The role of US and Pakistan is seen as significant for peaceful Afghan elections in April. US also seeks Pakistan's help in the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan as its land route is key for heavy machinery and defence equipment. US says the Taliban dialogue is an internal issue of Pakistan.

The ruling party in Pakistan's northwest, a main NATO supply route, has cut the line for over two months as protest against US drone strikes in the country's tribal region.

The route has not been opened despite repeated calls from US. Pakistani officials, however, insist that the other supply route is open through Balochistan province in western Pakistan.


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