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Gates discussing Afghanistan war with Pakistanis; Pakistani army comments

ISLAMABAD (AP) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates says his talks today with Pakistan's military and civilian leaders are intended to explain the U.S. war strategy in neighboring Afghanistan.

Gates says he will reassure Pakistan that the United States is "in this for the long haul."

The Pentagon chief says he won't directly press Pakistan to expand its military campaign against militant forces. Instead he will ask his hosts what their plans are.

The U.S. wants Pakistan to broaden its offensive to border areas where members of the Afghan Taliban have been seeking refuge.

But the Pakistani army says it can't launch any new offensives against militants for six months to a year to give it time to stabilize existing gains. Army spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas revealed the news to reporters traveling with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

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