KABUL (INP) - Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has said that reaffirmation of the relationship between the US and Pakistani militaries was the most important aspect of his meeting with Pakistani military leadership. The meeting at Army House in Islamabad was the first chance Navy Adm Mullen and Pakistani Gen Asfaq Parvez Kayani have had to meet since the Raymond Davis arrest earlier this year that has chilled the ties between the two countries. Certainly, we understand weve been through a pretty rough period, Mullen said to reporters traveling with him. I feel that the relationship that we had had a lot to do with our ability to get through this rough period. Significant challenges remain in the relationship, and he and Kayani brought those up in their meeting, Mullen said. The admiral would not discuss specifics of his conversations with Kayani. He meets at least quarterly with the Pakistani military leader, he said, and those conversations remain private. Generally, the admiral said, the Pakistani military is in a difficult fight with extremists in Mohmand Agency, its third campaign against extremists there. Whats different this time is the cross-border coordination with our forces, which has made a significant difference, Mullen said. It represents a level of coordination thats better than its ever been. Still, not all is brightness and light, the chairman acknowledged. The Pakistani force has been in a tough fight there for years. Hes got those challenges of rotation and dwell time and so on, the admiral said of his Pakistani counterpart. It continues to evolve. Kayani is working with Army Gen David H Petraeus, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, on campaigns for the future, Mullen said. The Pakistani military is stressed, he added, but has proven to be resilient. I think about us in our 10th year of war, and the resilience piece has been pretty incredible, the admiral said. His military, but particularly his army, has also has shown a level of resilience as well. Were both encouraged by the recent meetings that Pakistan and India have had, as well as those that are scheduled, Mullen said. Ive said more than once that resolving the Kashmir border dispute between Pakistan and India has the potential to unlock the whole region for stability. Mullen said he and Kayani also talked about training and assistance for the Pakistani military, the political process in Afghanistan and about reconciliation in Afghanistan. When Kayani has told me he would do something, he has done something, Mullen said. Were a little bit more impatient in the timing of that execution. In Afghanistan, we want to get this right for the future, and we dont want to see the relationship break down. From Islamabad, Mullen moved on to the Afghan capital of Kabul, where he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Petraeus. Meanwhile, according to The Washington Post, Adm Mike Mullen and Gen Kayani, who would meet and interact cordially posing together for photos intended to convey the solidity, have no such smiling photo op this week, and the tone of statements made separately by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pakistans army chief was far from cordial. More than ever before, the lack of trust between the strategic partners and the gulf between their perceptions of regional threats was made palpably and publicly clear. There is a real difference now, a basic stalemate. Mullen has gone public, and Kayani has responded in kind, the paper quoted Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani security analyst, as saying. He said that Washington was preoccupied with pushing back the Taliban before the summer deadline to begin troop withdrawals from Afghanistan but that Pakistan was much more worried about India using its influence in Afghanistan to encircle Pakistan. In a series of interviews with the Pakistani media, Mullen made strong and pointed statements criticising the Pakistani intelligence agencys support for a group of Afghan insurgents. Many hours after the meeting between Mullen and Kayani, which one observer close to the Pakistani military described as tense and uncomfortable, the Pakistani military spokesmans office issued a statement saying Kayani and Mullen had agreed on addressing the trust deficit between the institutions and the people on both sides. The statement went on to say that Kayani had strongly rejected negative propaganda of Pakistan not doing enough to combat terrorism and that he had reinforced his governments strong opposition to the US campaign of drone strikes, which he said not only undermine our national effort against terrorism but turn public support against our efforts. A Pakistani security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity Thursday because of the sensitivity of the issue, said military and intelligence officials were highly displeased by Mullens allegations and by his rejection of Pakistani demands for a scaling back of attacks by unmanned aircraft. The way Admiral Mullen talked here, his tough stance, didnt help at all. I would say, rather, it added to the prevailing tensions. The official said that Pakistani forces consider the Haqqani network an enemy like other Taliban factions, and there should be no doubt about it. He said launching an operation against Haqqanis base in the North Waziristan tribal area was only a matter of time and resources. Another security official said that the Pakistani army was seriously discussing such an operation but that it was insisting first on a pause in drone attacks, because they create problems for us and make it very hard for us to convince the tribal people that we are fighting our own war.