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"We remain ready, willing and able to assist the Pakistanis and to partner with them, to provide additional training, to conduct joint operations, should they desire to do so," Gates told reporters at the Pentagon.
The United States, waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan against Islamist militants that have strained its military, is increasingly concerned about the rise of insurgents in Pakistan's tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
Those areas have become safe havens for Taliban and al Qaeda militants, according to U.S. officials.