The Emerging Strategy

This section contains all research and opinion based posts by Spearhead Research team. All registered users are welcome to post their original work under this section.

The Emerging Strategy

Postby Spearhead Research » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:18 pm

Image

Spearhead Analysis - 07.04.2011

The Emerging Strategy

The US Secretary of State has talked of an intensified diplomatic push to bring the Afghan conflict to an end through a ‘responsible reconciliation process led by the Afghans and supported by intense regional diplomacy’. She also implied that what were being earlier stated as pre-conditions could now be considered as the end conditions sought. She has also said quite unambiguously that Pakistan had to be part of the reconciliation process if it was to succeed. There is now a distinct possibility that there could be a move towards direct negotiations with the Taliban without being overly selective. The Pentagon, however, continues to push for a ‘durable and sustainable’ situation through military operations implying that at present the situation is ‘fragile and reversible’ in spite of the surges in Southern Afghanistan.

It would be realistic to assume that Secretary Clinton’s current thoughts must have been discussed during her meeting with the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff in Munich—a meeting that the Foreign Minister did not attend. Earlier the Army Chief had briefed NATO in Brussels, and then had a meeting on a US aircraft carrier with the US military top brass, followed by a paper that he presented to President Obama in Washington and then another meeting with US military commanders at a resort in Oman. The media had reported that in the paper given to the US President the Army Chief had stressed the need for balance that could be lost by overextending without consolidating—something that is happening in Afghanistan and could happen in FATA. He had also indicated Pakistan’s interest in a stable and peaceful Afghanistan—deliberately omitting ‘friendly’ to distance current thinking from the past ‘strategic depth’ concept. The other points in the paper indicated the need for a political track to complement the military ‘surges’, dialogue across the board with all for reconciliation and a focus on the final results sought in Afghanistan. There now seems to be convergence on major strategic directions. A recent White House paper has, however, pointed out that there is ‘no clear path towards ending the insurgency in FATA in spite of the 147000 troops committed’ and that the ‘clear’ part of strategy has not been followed by ‘hold and build’. The precarious economic situation has been indicated as a serious problem. There can be no end to the insurgency in FATA as long as the Afghanistan situation is not resolved and ‘hold and build’ can only realistically happen if there is balance and consolidation in cleared areas as well as economic and social uplift through enhanced communications and contacts. The economic transformation of Pakistan through specific measures would, of course, be a game changer for the region because then Pakistan could effectively work on many fronts to resolve issues, especially its internal security with which the economy is inextricably linked. It is in the economic sphere that Pakistan needs to be supported by policies and concessions that can give its economy a boost.

Pakistan’s criticality for the situation in Afghanistan focuses much attention on its internal environment. With elections scheduled in 2013 the present elected government is set to complete its tenure. The government has ensured harmony in civil-military relations so that fundamentals like security, foreign policy, counter insurgency, counter terrorism and the economy are comprehensively addressed. The situations that led to intervention in the past have been allowed to play out with the result that public opinion and pressure has become significantly important. An independent judiciary is not mired in the past under political pressure and is acting to resolve ongoing issues. An independent and increasingly responsible media is fostering debate and influencing opinion. The most challenging issues facing the government are the economy and the internal security situation and it is in these areas that there are serious resource constraints that need to be addressed. Because of the long shadow that the Afghan situation casts on Pakistan the relationships with the US, UK and other NATO states are important and require nurturing in spite of transitory setbacks and sometimes contradictory policies and opinions.

There are several positive indicators that possibly give a sense of future directions. The resumption of the India–Pakistan dialogue in a comprehensive format indicates a push towards a threat reduction strategy as does the acceptance of India as a part of the trilateral dialogue on Afghanistan—implying an acceptance of its presence there. The change of faces in Afghanistan brings in people who could break from the past hostility towards Pakistan to its acceptance as a major player—a trend that needs to be encouraged through high level visits and follow-up interaction. The Afghan led reconciliation process should be supported in every possible manner and not undermined by acts that humiliate or stoke anger. A discernible scaling down of ambitions, acceptance of realities and a focus on internal situations is slowly emerging — this could alter regional relations and economics if all the stake holders accept responsibility for encouraging these trends and doing everything possible to prevent events that can disrupt or slow this process. There is a time window available now that the governments of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan can exploit to forge a regional cooperation arrangement through bilateral and trilateral interaction. This is not the time for exploitative policies based on past mind sets.

(Spearhead Analyses are the result of a collaborative effort and not attributable to a single individual)

www.spearheadresearch.org

*** ** ***
Spearhead Research
Expert
 
Posts: 6750
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:36 pm

Postby Spearhead Research » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:14 pm

Kamal Monnoo wrote:Nice thoughts, but when it comes to Pakistan's economic well being I somehow sense a contradiction. Meaning, in my opinion the economic solutions being handed down by the USA, its Western partners (mainly UK) and the donor agencies are more like recipes for social unrest than measures for growth, employment generation and progress! On our part, the economic managers in Islamabad either tend to regard their advice as gospel truth or perhaps their desperation cum lust for borrowing simply clouds their thinking!
Spearhead Research
Expert
 
Posts: 6750
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:36 pm

US general holds Pakistan talks amid shaky ties

Postby Fatima Rizvi » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:49 am

Image

US general holds Pakistan talks amid shaky ties

Image

ISLAMABAD — US military commander James Mattis met Pakistan's top brass on Thursday with shaky ties again tested by a White House report criticising Pakistan's fight against the Taliban.

General Mattis, head of US Central Command overseeing the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, would meet Pakistan's army chief Ashfaq Kayani for a "regular, scheduled visit", the US embassy in Islamabad said. "It's not extraordinary... it's a military to military relationship," said embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez.

But the visit comes after a US report this week criticised the Pakistani military for failing to forge a clear and sustained path to beat Islamist insurgents holed up in the lawless regions bordering Afghanistan. The United States has long urged Pakistan to do more to combat militants in the tribal belt, which it considers a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda, saying such efforts are vital to help end the nearly decade-long war in Afghanistan.

The semi-annual White House report to Congress, released Tuesday, noted a deterioration of the situation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and said operations were not complemented by plans to "hold" and "build" the areas. "As such there remains no clear path to defeating the insurgency in Pakistan, despite the unprecedented and sustained deployment of over 147,000 forces," the report said.

Mattis is the most senior US official to visit Islamabad since Pakistan released a CIA contractor who shot dead two men in Lahore in January.

The killings and Pakistan's subsequent seven-week detention of Raymond Davis sparked a major diplomatic crisis in the fragile relationship between Washington and Islamabad. A Pakistani court eventually freed Raymond Davis following the payment of $2 million in blood money to the families of the dead men.

Pakistani-US tensions remain high over an ongoing covert US drone campaign in the border region, which fosters deep anti-Americanism within Pakistan. A missile strike on March 17 that killed 39 people, civilians among them, led to rare public condemnation by Kayani of the unmanned drone campaign, which continues with the tacit consent of Islamabad.

*** ** ***
Fatima Rizvi
Expert
 
Posts: 210
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:12 pm
Location: Karachi, Pakistan

The Key to Afghanistan: India-Pakistan Peace

Postby shemrez » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:05 am

Image

The Key to Afghanistan: India-Pakistan Peace

By ARYN BAKER / KABUL
Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008

Image
A masked Kashmiri Muslim man confronts Indian policemen during an anti-election protest in Srinagar. Fayaz Kabli / Reuters

The problem with campaign promises, especially far-reaching ones, is that eventually they must be kept. Throughout his campaign, Barack Obama pledged to reverse what he called one of the fundamental strategic blunders of the Bush Administration by returning to, and winning the war in, Afghanistan. But when Obama takes office on Jan. 20, he will inherit a war complicated by years of neglect. Seven years on, military commanders are struggling to find a winning strategy in a fight whose cost in both blood and treasure continues to mount even as security disintegrates. Coalition soldiers are dying in greater numbers now than in any year since 2001. So are Afghan civilians — who are victims of the insurgency as well as mistaken aerial bombardments made necessary by a shortage of troops. The Bush Administration, in its assessment due in December, will recommend a doubling of the Afghan military, yet it neglects to say how that impoverished country can support an army of 160,000 or more. Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was not exaggerating when he warned last week that the Afghan war would be the biggest challenge for Obama after the economic crisis.

It's likely that Europe's rekindled love affair with the U.S. thanks to Obama will lead to promises of soldiers and cash for Afghanistan. An eventual drawdown of troops in Iraq will free up U.S. investment as well. But as many diplomats and military commanders have said, this war will not be won by military means alone. If Obama intends to solve the problems of Afghanistan, he would best take a page from his first major foreign policy paper, penned in July 2007. "I will encourage dialogue between Pakistan and India to work toward resolving their dispute over Kashmir," he wrote in Foreign Policy magazine, focusing on long-standing tensions over the contested territory that has led to two wars between the nuclear-armed nations. Peace between Pakistan and India will achieve far more for Afghanistan — and the war on terror — than unlimited troops and an open bank account.

Throughout its history, Afghanistan's many wars have not been fought for territorial gain; instead, its indigenous protagonists have been proxies for bigger, more complicated enemies. During the Great Game, the British fought there to prevent the Russians from invading India. In the 1980s, Americans equipped mujahedin to bleed the Soviet Union dry. In the civil war following the 1989 Soviet withdrawal, Pakistan backed the Taliban, a fundamentalist faction fostered in its own religious seminaries, to counter Indian influence in the rival Northern Alliance. When the Taliban captured Kabul in 1994, Pakistan was one of only three nations to recognize their government. The Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Pakistan's clandestine services, then sent militants hardened in the Soviet war to Indian-administered Kashmir in order to wage a low-level insurgency. They used the Afghan mountains as training grounds and looked the other way when Osama bin Laden made the country a base for his terrorist network. Many Kashmiri militants were trained in his camps as part of the global jihad. As long as there was a sympathetic regime in Afghanistan, Pakistan believed, it could stand up to India, its more powerful neighbor to the east.

But in 2001, the Taliban was toppled, and a Northern Alliance–dominated government took its place. Hamid Karzai, educated in India, became President. India stepped in with multimillion-dollar reconstruction projects. Pakistani officials mutter darkly about up to 19 Indian "consulates" based in sensitive border areas as if it were fact (there are only three). "Who is the beneficiary of this war on terror that requires the collaboration of Pakistan?" a retired major in the Pakistani army once asked me. "India is again in Afghanistan, working against us. Unless you demonstrate what good for Pakistan will come out of this collaboration, you will not get any more than grudging support." That was made clear this summer, when evidence emerged that senior members of the ISI were involved in an attack on Kabul's Indian embassy that killed 51.

Until Pakistan is secure in its relationship with India, it will continue to believe that its interests are best advanced through clandestine support of the Taliban and other elements that destabilize Afghanistan. The way to do that would be to help resolve the festering Kashmir issue. Such a resolution would bring other dividends as well — deprived of the Kashmir cause, Islamist militancy within Pakistan would lose support. A strong diplomatic initiative will go a long way toward convincing local stakeholders that the U.S. is not only committed to eliminating extremism, but that it is also invested in regional development. It might even raise America's image in Pakistan; at last count, the U.S. received a 19% approval rating, compared with bin Laden's 34%. Peace would free up vital trade routes to Central Asia that would not only enrich Afghanistan but open markets in India to Pakistani products and resources.

India and Pakistan have fought over Kashmir twice since 1947. Resolving an issue that has been the failure of many great diplomatic efforts will by no means be an easy task. But Obama, strengthened by his mandate at home and even abroad, and spurred on by his pledge to fix Afghanistan, is the man for the job. The time is right. Despite the economic meltdown, the U.S. has leverage in the form of an agreement to sell India civilian nuclear technology and fuel. Pakistan has a civilian government for the first time in nine years, and a desperate need for cash and trade. There is nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

***
shemrez
Expert
 
Posts: 1224
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:43 am

Pakistan and US in patch-up efforts

Postby Spearhead Research » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:02 am

Image

Pakistan and US in patch-up efforts

Pakistan said on Thursday it was ready to work with the United States on its concerns about the fight against militancy, but cautioned it against making Pakistan a scapegoat for its failures in Afghanistan.

The statement indicated that Islamabad was willing to come out of the latest denouement in relations with Washington that started with last month’s drone attack on a tribal jirga in North Waziristan and forced Pakistan to pull out of March 26 trilateral ministerial meeting with the US and Afghanistan.

At her weekly briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua rejected the White House assessment of Pakistan’s counter-insurgency operations and said that divergences on combating militancy in the region warranted purposeful Pak-US-Afghanistan engagement to deal with the challenges in the conflict.

“There is undoubtedly recognition of the need for genuine and honest engagement between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US to overcome what are perceived to be common challenges and shared goals,” the spokesperson said, adding that Pakistan would be engaging with the US on these issues.

Underlining the need for Pakistan, US and Afghanistan to engage with each other at both bilateral and trilateral levels, Ms Janjua noted that the three countries needed to be “on the same page to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan”.

While indicating that a Pak-US rapprochement was in the works, the spokesperson placed special emphasis on keeping Pakistan’s national interest “foremost”.

“We are building our bilateral relations with the US on principles of equality, respect, partnership, mutual interest and mutual trust.”

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir is likely to travel to Washington later this month to discuss contentious matters that have strained the relationship.

The military and intelligence leadership of both countries is also engaging separately to discuss problems in their cooperation that was always taken as the foundation of Pak-US ties.

It was, however, quite evident that Pakistani leadership was displeased with the White House report submitted to Congress earlier this week, which made a bleak appraisal of Pakistan’s progress in its fight against Taliban insurgents in tribal areas and had said that it (Pakistan) lacked a sound strategy to fight militancy.

The report had further alleged that Pakistan’s poor planning for ‘hold’ and ‘build’ stages of its military operations was enabling militants to make a comeback in areas from where they had been driven out.

The US, in an effort to complement Pakistan’s counter-insurgency operations, is said to have provided billions of dollars in the shape of military training, hardware and civilian aid programmes and has been particularly vexed over poor results.

Ms Janjua rejected this perception and said: “Pakistan has a clear strategy in dealing with these and other issues and in doing so will solely be guided by Pakistan’s national interest.

“I would like to emphatically state that we do not entirely share the US assessment,” she said, adding that references related to Pakistan in the report were “unwarranted”.

Pakistan, she noted, was itself capable of evaluating its strengths and weaknesses in the fight against militants and the strategy being pursued by coalition forces in Afghanistan.

*** ** ***
Spearhead Research
Expert
 
Posts: 6750
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:36 pm

Pakistan Tells U.S. It Must Sharply Cut C.I.A. Activities

Postby shemrez » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:49 pm

Image

Pakistan Tells U.S. It Must Sharply Cut C.I.A. Activities

By JANE PERLEZ and ISMAIL KHAN
Published: April 11, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan has demanded that the United States steeply reduce the number of Central Intelligence Agency operatives and Special Operations forces working in Pakistan, and that it halt C.I.A. drone strikes aimed at militants in northwest Pakistan. The request was a sign of the near collapse of cooperation between the two testy allies.

Pakistani and American officials said in interviews that the demand that the United States scale back its presence was the immediate fallout from the arrest in Pakistan of Raymond A. Davis, a C.I.A. security officer who killed two men in January during what he said was an attempt to rob him.

In all, about 335 American personnel — C.I.A. officers and contractors and Special Operations forces — were being asked to leave the country, said a Pakistani official closely involved in the decision.

It was not clear how many C.I.A. personnel that would leave behind; the total number in Pakistan has not been disclosed. But the cuts demanded by the Pakistanis amounted to 25 to 40 percent of United States Special Operations forces in the country, the officials said. The number also included the removal of all the American contractors used by the C.I.A. in Pakistan.

The demands appeared severe enough to badly hamper American efforts — either through drone strikes or Pakistani military training — to combat militants who use Pakistan as a base to fight American forces in Afghanistan and plot terrorist attacks abroad.

The reductions were personally demanded by the chief of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said Pakistani and American officials, who requested anonymity while discussing the delicate issue.

The scale of the Pakistani demands emerged as Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s chief spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or the ISI, arrived in Washington on Monday for nearly four hours of meetings with the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Two senior American officials said afterward that General Pasha did not make any specific requests for reductions of C.I.A. officers, contractors or American military personnel in Pakistan at the meetings.

“There were no ultimatums, no demands to withdraw tens or hundreds of Americans from Pakistan,” said one of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the tensions between the two spy services.

A C.I.A. spokesman, George Little, called the meetings “productive” and said the relationship between the two services “remains on solid footing.”

The meetings were part of an effort to repair the already tentative and distrustful relations between the spy agencies. Those ties plunged to a new low as a result of the Davis episode, which has further exposed the divergence in Pakistani and American interests as the endgame in Afghanistan draws closer.

The Pakistani Army firmly believes that Washington’s real aim in Pakistan is to strip the nation of its prized nuclear arsenal, which is now on a path to becoming the world’s fifth largest, said the Pakistani official closely involved in the decision on reducing the American presence.

On the American side, frustration has built over the Pakistani Army’s seeming inability to defeat a host of militant groups, including the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which have thrived in Pakistan’s tribal areas despite more than $1 billion in American assistance a year to the Pakistani military.

In a rare public rebuke, a White House report to Congress last week described the Pakistani efforts against the militants as disappointing.

At the time of his arrest, Mr. Davis was involved in a covert C.I.A. effort to penetrate one militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has ties to Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment, has made deepening inroads in Afghanistan, and is perceived as a global threat.

The C.I.A. had demanded that Mr. Davis be freed immediately, on the grounds that he had diplomatic immunity. Instead, he was held for 47 days of detention and, the officials said, questioned for 14 days by ISI agents during his imprisonment in Lahore, infuriating American officials. He was finally freed after his victims’ families agreed to take some $2.3 million in compensation.

Another price, however, apparently is the list of reductions in American personnel demanded by General Kayani, according to the Pakistani and American officials. American officials said last year that the Pakistanis had allowed a maximum of 120 Special Operations troops in the country, most of them involved in training the paramilitary Frontier Corps in northwest Pakistan. The Americans had reached that quota, the Pakistani official said.

In addition to the withdrawal of all C.I.A. contractors, Pakistan is demanding the removal of C.I.A. operatives involved in “unilateral” assignments like Mr. Davis’s that the Pakistani intelligence agency did not know about, the Pakistani official said.

An American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said without elaborating that the Pakistanis had asked “for more visibility into some things” — presumably the nature of C.I.A. covert operations in the country — “and that request is being talked about.”

General Kayani has also told the Obama administration that its expanded drone campaign has gotten out of control, a Pakistani official said. Given the reluctance or inability of the Pakistani military to root out Qaeda and Taliban militants from the tribal areas, American officials have turned more and more to drone strikes, drastically increasing the number of attacks last year.

The drone campaign, which is immensely unpopular among the Pakistani public, had become the sole preserve of the United States, the Pakistani official said, since the Americans were no longer sharing intelligence on how they were choosing targets. The Americans have also extended the strikes to new parts of the tribal region, like the Khyber area near the city of Peshawar.

“Kayani would like the drones stopped,” said another Pakistani official who met with the military chief recently. “He believes they are used too frequently as a weapon of choice, rather than as a strategic weapon.” Short of that, General Kayani was demanding that the campaign return to its original, more limited, scope and remain focused narrowly on North Waziristan, the prime militant stronghold.

A drone attack last month, one day after Mr. Davis was released, hit Taliban fighters in North Waziristan, but also killed tribal leaders allied with the Pakistani military, infuriating General Kayani, who issued an unusually strong statement of condemnation afterward.

American officials defended the drone attack, saying it had achieved its goal of killing militants. But there have been no drone attacks since then.

General Kayani’s request to reduce the number of Special Operations troops by up to 40 percent would result in the closing of the training program begun last year at Warsak, close to Peshawar, an American official said.

Informed by American officials that the Special Operations training would end even with the partial reduction of 40 percent, General Kayani remained unmoved, the American official said.

American officials believed the training program was essential to improve the capacity of the nearly 150,000 Pakistani soldiers deployed to fight the Taliban in the tribal region.

The C.I.A. quietly withdrew all contractors after Mr. Davis’s arrest, the Pakistani official said.

Another category of American intelligence agents, declared operatives whose purpose was not clear, were also being asked to leave, the Pakistani official said.

In a sign of the severity of the breach between the C.I.A. and the ISI, the official said: “We’re telling the Americans: ‘You have to trust the ISI or you don’t. There is nothing in between.’ ”

*** ** ***
shemrez
Expert
 
Posts: 1224
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:43 am

Pasha-Panetta meeting was positive, says CIA official

Postby Fatima Rizvi » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:54 pm

Image

Pasha-Panetta meeting was positive, says CIA official
Washington : DC : USA | Apr 11, 2011

Image

WASHINGTON: Pakistan's Inter Services (ISI) Directorate of Intelligence CIA chief on Monday called on Director Leon Panetta U.S. spy operations on Pakistani soil for more control over ISI to discuss requirements.

Langley, CIA headquarters in Virginia met, both Panetta and Pakistan spy chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, an attempt by the two institutions, which over the past six months under pressure had to significant relationship between maintenance represented.

CIA spokesman, between two spy chiefs meeting was positive.The spokesman said despite recent tensions, the CIA spy agency of Pakistan with Prime Minister friendly relations.

Langley, CIA headquarters in Virginia met, both Panetta and Pakistan spy chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, an attempt by the two institutions, which over the past six months under pressure had to significant relationship between maintenance represented.

Officers went to the meeting indicated, however, not solve important problems remain.

"Director General Pasha Panetta and discussed today is the creation of ISI and the CIA's relationship is on solid surface," Preston Golson, a CIA spokesman, told Reuters.

"The United States and Pakistan share mutual interests and exchange a wide range of today's meeting near the terrorist network that both our countries against the threat of war, including joint work, need to continue emphasized. "

Privately, U.S. officials acknowledged that despite renewed goodwill, CIA activities in Pakistan on Pakistani demand more scrutiny and control the administration of Barack Obama for president are unacceptable.

Sources also say that the ISI, the CIA counter-terrorism efforts and to lend more to improve Pakistan's CIA officers informed of activities was agreed to.

Spy chiefs on Monday after the meeting between a U.S. official said: "Some things in Pakistan have asked for more exposure, and this request is being talked about - more including ways to enhance partnership on other subjects, with a host. "

But the official also said that when a Pakistani proposal was "under review," the Obama administration as others considered "non-start." Pakistani government statement rejected suggestions from Washington was likely to be refused.

Late last year, start, joint intelligence operation a series of conflicts, the most important in the case of Davis CIA contractor in the eastern city of Lahore two Pakistanis shot dead in January was affected.

Pakistan jail for weeks, despite U.S. claims that Davis held was protected by diplomatic immunity. Last month, he shot the men compensation, Pakistan and Islam in a custom sanctioned families after payment was issued.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the Pakistani media Islamabad CIA station head's secret name, his country forced to leave.

The ISI's Pasha's Washington visit, which comes days after Pakistan's government a second time to ensure continuity as head of spying on their extension offer any details.

Despite continued difficulties, a U.S. high-level official familiar with intelligence matters said: "The bottom line is that joint cooperation is necessary for the security of both countries are too high stakes."

*** ** ***
Fatima Rizvi
Expert
 
Posts: 210
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:12 pm
Location: Karachi, Pakistan

US, Pakistani spy chiefs try to defuse tensions

Postby shemrez » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:01 pm

Image

US, Pakistani spy chiefs try to defuse tensions

(AFP) – 17 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The CIA said Monday relations with Pakistan's intelligence service remained on a "solid footing" despite recent tensions, as Islamabad's spy chief paid a visit to Washington.

CIA Director Leon Panetta held "productive" talks with Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), a spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency, George Little, told AFP.

The meeting Monday came as the two governments tried to smooth over damaging rows that threatened to derail joint efforts to combat Al-Qaeda and other Islamist militants.

"Director Panetta and General Pasha held productive discussions today, and the CIA-ISI relationship remains on solid footing," Little said.

"The United States and Pakistan share a wide range of mutual interests, and today?s exchange emphasized the need to continue to work closely together, including on our common fight against terrorist networks that threaten both countries," he said.

The January killings of two men by a CIA contractor caused public outrage in Pakistan, exposing distrust between the spy agencies over intelligence sharing and aggravating tensions over Washington's controversial drone war targeting militants.

A US drone strike that killed 35 people last month in North Waziristan tribal region also has strained ties, drawing condemnation from Pakistan's civilian and military leaders.

Since the incident, US bombing raids with unmanned aircraft against Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants apparently have been scaled back, with no reported strike since March 17.

With Pakistani officials complaining that US spy agencies have taken action against militants without informing or consulting Islamabad beforehand, intelligence officers are discussing how to better cooperate with their Pakistani counterparts, US officials said.

"The Pakistanis have asked for more visibility into some things, and that request is being talked about," along with other issues, a US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

"The bottom line is that joint cooperation is essential to the security of the two nations. The stakes are too high," the official added.

In Islamabad, Cameron Munter, the US ambassador to Pakistan, acknowledged on Monday some recent "difficult days" but expressed hope that the two governments could renew ties.

The United States provides billions of dollars in military and economic aid to Pakistan designed to help fight extremist threats and bolster the war effort in neighboring Afghanistan.

US officials have been frustrated with Pakistan's reluctance to go after extremists in North Waziristan and expressed concerns about links between ISI and some Islamist militants.

But analysts say Pakistan fears arch-foe India's role in Afghanistan and has retained ties to some militants as a hedge.

*** ** ***
shemrez
Expert
 
Posts: 1224
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:43 am


Return to Research & Opinions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron