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U.S. Defense Secretary Calls Pakistan "Steadfast Ally"

Gates lauds cooperation between U.S. and Pakistani armed forces

Washington, D.C., Sept. 7, 2007 – Robert Gates, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, told the Voice of America's Urdu television service in an exclusive interview that the United States appreciates the contribution and sacrifices made by Pakistan army troops in the war on terror, particularly those who have laid down their lives in the recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

"Pakistan has been a steadfast ally in the war on terror, and we deeply appreciate and express our sympathy to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who have died in this war on terror, and many hundreds have died," Secretary Gates said.

He made the remarks at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington at a ceremony to mark 'the Defense of Pakistan Day.'

Secretary Gates also lauded the cooperation between U.S. and Pakistani armed forces, particularly their joint efforts to secure the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region from terrorist activities by Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.

"We know that there are nearly a hundred thousand soldiers in the frontier area, and we appreciate this cooperation," said Secretary Gates, referring to the large number of Pakistan army troops deployed along the rugged Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. "We deeply appreciate our partnership with President Musharraf and his contribution, working with us in this war on terror."

Geo TV, VOA's affiliate station in Pakistan, aired the interview with Secretary Gates today. Geo airs VOA's Beyond the Headlines (Khabron Se Aage), a 30-minute television news program, Monday through Friday. For more information, or to view programs online, please visit the VOA Urdu web page at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

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