ISLAMABAD - The pending deliberations between Pakistan Army and the Western military alliance over closing Pak-Afghan border for blocking the way of runway militants from cross-border escape in military operations are likely to figure high during an American general's visit to Pakistan expected this month.

Commander International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) General John Allen was expected to land in Islamabad last Thursday but his visit was postponed due to the commander's reported professional engagements. The security officials said, General Allen had to supervise two ISAF-led emergency operations in Afghanistan's Nangarhar and Ghazni provinces on last Wednesday and Thursday which caused postponement of his visit.

 Two Afghan Taliban leaders were arrested in these operations.  The new date for the American general's visit has not been announced as yet but the officials said General Allen would meet Pakistan's Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani sometime this month.

When approached, the Isaf Spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz did not disclose the details about General Allen's upcoming visit's agenda saying the military commanders held regular meetings to discuss professional matters and enhance coordination. The schedule for the general's next visit to Pakistan could not be disclosed, he said. "The military commanders from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Isaf interact frequently to improve professional relationship that is essential to defeat the capability and will of the insurgency."  The spokesman did not comment on reported demands from Pakistan's military for sealing Pak-Afghan border during military operations.

"The Isaf values Pakistan Army's contribution in the fight against militancy. We look forward to continuing with our Pakistani and Afghan partners what we believe is a vital collaborative relationship in our concerted efforts to defeat terrorism."

According to security officials, Pakistan's military, last month, had asked the Isaf and Afghan National Army (ANA) leaderships for making arrangements to block cross-border movement at the Afghan side of the Pak-Afghan border involving the belt from Kunar to Paktika provinces that borders Pakistan's Bajaur, North and South Waziristan agencies and Dir region. Reportedly, the demand had been made keeping in view the launch of military operation in Bajaur Agency, in order to block the way of runaway militants from fleeing across-the-border. The security officials said, Pakistan alone could not seal the Pakistani side of the border as it would tantamount to sending a 'hostile message' to the other side.

"We alone cannot do it. It would throw a hostile message. We are in coordination with Isaf and Afghan authorities to take mutual steps for sealing the sensitive parts of the border till military operations in respective areas are completed and those parts are cleared," a military official at the General Headquarters (GHQ) said.

Pakistan on Tuesday had sealed Pakistani side of the Pak-Afghan border at the Lower Dir district on the pretext of taking preventive measures to stop cross-border attacks from the Afghan side.

The district's city administration chief said, the border would be closed for the next few days, to follow security situation on fortnightly basis.

Talking to TheNation, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Lower Dir Mehmood Khan Wazir said, the district administration, in consultation with the military authorities, sealed the Pak-Afghan border at the Lower Dir district to avoid cross-border attacks, on the instructions of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. The border would be kept sealed for the next few days that would follow a meeting between the district administration and the military authorities to review the security situation.

"Any decision on opening our side of the border would be made after examining the security scenario. We have decided to hold meetings with the military authorities on fortnightly basis in this regard," he informed. The DCO said, the border closure would be applied from Wednesday (today) morning on unauthorised cross-border movement.

The Pakistani and Afghan traders who have valid permit cards or stamped visas to travel at both sides of the border would be exempted from the new rules and allowed to enter into Pakistan or go to Afghanistan, he said.

The security officials said, Pakistani border side at Lower Dir was closed after prior intimation to the Afghan authorities. "We had also discussed the matter with the Isaf officials, they agreed to temporary border closure for security reasons," the officials said.