Pakistan has temporarily stopped cooperating with US intelligence officials in the aftermath of the detention of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who fatally shot two of its citizens earlier this year, Cable News Network (CNN) reported late Tuesday.
Quoting an unnamed security official, CNN said that Islamabad had put on hold joint operations. The official said however that the two countries would continue to share vital intelligence about any imminent acts of terrorism.
The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has asked the Central Intelligence Agency to “give it visibility” over what the official says are an estimated 40 covert American intelligence operatives working in his country.
One US official referred to Pakistan as “playing public negotiations versus private negotiations game,” but the official said it is a “challenging situation,” and the two nations are “working through differences.” “The bottom line is that joint cooperation is essential to the security of the two nations. The stakes are too high,” said the official.
A US official said, “Pakistan has asked for certain things and we’re working it out,” but he would not elaborate.
The Pakistani security official said the presence of undisclosed CIA officers “amounts to a lack of trust and respect that makes our job very difficult. After incidents like this we do have to take a pause — is it that we are not being trusted? If we cannot be trusted to fight this war on terror on our own turf, then who can?”
The freezing of cooperation between the two countries was not something the two countries wanted to sustain indefinitely, the official said. “It will also not affect drone strikes,” he said.
“We want to go back to working with them. We have to work together with trust and respect,” the official said.
A US official acknowledged that Pakistan has requested that a number of American personnel leave the country, but said a New York Times report indicating 335 CIA and American special forces have been asked to depart is a “very inflated number.”
However, the Pakistani official said that to his knowledge, Islamabad had not asked that any American officials leave.
“There have been incidents in which Americans have left on their own accord, and contractors may also have left,” that source said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2011.