http://www.google.com/hostednews/af...docId=CNG.c2bfdeae6f04b1a245a230bead308a7a.41 ISLAMABAD â€” The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff will visit Islamabad this week for talks with Pakistani leaders as relations between the allies flounder amid a series of diplomatic rows. Admiral Mike Mullen's visit is the latest shuttle diplomacy mission after a fatal shooting by a CIA contractor in January enflamed a row over intelligence sharing and heightened tensions over the controversial US drone war. Mullen, the top US military official, is to visit for "discussions with leadership here", a military official in Pakistan said Tuesday, without giving further details. Pakistan, a nuclear power, is a key US ally in the war in neighbouring Afghanistan, and receives billions of dollars in military and civilian aid from the global superpower. But covert missile strikes targeting militants in Pakistan's lawless border regions, believed to operate with the tacit consent of Islamabad, stoke rampant anti-American sentiment throughout the South Asian nation. Pakistan has publicly insisted the drones stop and that the US slashes the number of CIA agents on its soil, while American officials say operations will continue in order to prevent more attacks by Al-Qaeda-linked militants on the United States. US House Speaker John Boehner led a congressional visit to Islamabad on Monday, during which Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said he told him to stop drone attacks and instead share the technology for Pakistan to use itself. Following talks this month between the CIA chief and Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the CIA said relations remained on a "solid footing" despite the tensions. The military official pointed out that Mullen had visited Pakistan at least 25 times, with his last visit for two days in December. --------------------------------- Mullen is arguably one of the most pro-Pak officials in Obama administration. It will be interesting to see what he pulls out of his hat in his visit to Pakistan.