Pakistan's army chief supports efforts to talk to militants, but keeps military options open

Pakistan's army chief says the country's powerful military supports government efforts to negotiate with militants but will keep open the option of launching possible military operations against them.

Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said in a speech Saturday that the army would be happy if talks lead to peace. But he warned the military had the ability to handle the issue by force if needed. He also reminded Pakistanis of the threat the militants once posed when they got within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the capital, Islamabad.

The new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said it supports peace talks over military operations to end years of fighting that has killed thousands. But so far the talks have made little progress.