Pak-US intelligence ties at ‘lowest level’

Pak-US intelligence ties at ‘lowest level’
* Senior officials say US does not inform Pakistan even after carrying out drone strikes
* Say CIA has established its own network in FATA and no longer needs Pakistani help
By Iqbal Khattak, Daily Times, April 15, 2009

PESHAWAR: The US and Pakistan are at the ‘lowest level’ of intelligence-sharing, cooperation and coordination against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Tribal Areas, said senior officials on Monday.

“The level of cooperation has gone so low that the US now even does not intimate Pakistan after a drone strike in FATA,” a senior official told Daily Times in a reflection of the two countries’ relations in the background of a growing insurgency in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The official said that the deterioration in intelligence-sharing, cooperation and coordination was gradual. “In (late) 2001, 2002 and 2003, the relations were good, as both sides were sharing intelligence and coordinating attacks against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. At first, cooperation was such that the two countries shared any intelligence any side brought forward. From there, it went down to the level where the US used to intimate Pakistan minutes before carrying out strikes. And then, it dropped to a level at which the US informed Pakistan after carrying out a strike in the Tribal Areas,” said the official.

“Today, the US does not even intimate us about a strike it carries out inside Pakistan … and the reason for this is that the Americans have established their own network of intelligence across FATA and they no longer need their Pakistani counterparts’ help.”

Meanwhile, a senior military commander also acknowledged growing CIA influence in FATA. “I think the US has penetrated militant groups or they are using money,” Frontier Corps chief Maj Gen Tariq Khan told Daily Times. Gen Tariq also confirmed that while the CIA has gained a foothold in the Tribal Areas, Pakistani intelligence agencies have lost ‘considerable ground’.

Over a dozen spies from the Intelligence Bureau and ISI have been killed in the Tribal Areas and settled districts.

The official said, “The selection of targets is also a major bone of contention between the two countries. Who is the US targeting in drone strikes … those who are more interested in transborder jihad instead of [activities on] this side of the border.”

The counter-terrorism official said militant commanders Nek Muhammad, Abdullah Mehsud and Maulvi Nazir were mostly carrying out attacks inside Afghanistan. “So, two of them have already been eliminated and Nazir is lucky to have survived a drone attack [on October 31, 2008].”

But anti-Pakistan militants are allowed to go scot-free, the official charged. “We have given them the location of Baitullah [Mehsud] several times, but the Americans have come up with a different excuse every time.”

A US diplomat laughed at the impression that anti-Pakistan terrorists were the ones least targeted by Washington. “Tell us where he (Baitullah) is,” said the diplomat.

Also See:
Why the Pentagon Needs to Rebuild Its Relationship With Pakistan's Military - U.S. News and World Report


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