Mullen faces troop concern on pay amid US debt row

Nov 30, -0001
KABUL: The United States' top military officer admitted Saturday he did not know whether troops serving in Afghanistan would get paid if lawmakers fail to agree a deal on avoiding a debt default.Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who is on a visit to Afghanistan, was asked by troops what would happen to their wages if the current stalemate is not broken by a deadline Tuesday."I really don't know the answer to the question to how, if we default, how that will work out," he said, according to details posted on the Department of Defense website."That's something that the government leadership will have to figure out... I honestly hope we don't get there."But I don't expect it will affect -- certainly in the short term -- operations here and operations around the world."Mullen, due to step down in October, added that he thought "the single biggest threat to national security is this growing debt."His visit took him to Kandahar in southern Afghanistan and Camp Leatherneck in the neighbouring province of Helmand, both at the heart of the battle against the Taliban.Lawmakers in the US are battling to find a solution to a bitter deadlock over the US debt which could lead the world's largest economy to default on its financial obligations, with potentially serious consequences globally. AGENCIES




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