Leaked report reveals Pakistan-US 'understanding' on drones

According to the former intelligence chief, the systemic failures showed Pakistan was a "failing state".


Afp July 09, 2013
al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden evaded detection for nearly a decade. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reached an understanding with the United States on drone strikes targeting militants and the attacks can be useful, said the leaked remarks of a former intelligence chief.

Pakistan publicly condemns US missile attacks on Taliban and al Qaeda operatives as a violation of its sovereignty, but the new revelations are the latest sign of double-dealing in private.

They come in findings of a Pakistani investigation into how al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden evaded detection for nearly a decade, which were published by the Al-Jazeera news network Monday.

Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who headed Pakistan's premier Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency at the time of bin Laden's killing in 2011, told investigators that drone strikes had their uses.

"The DG (director general) said there were no written agreements. There was a political understanding," the report said.

The Americans had been asked to stop drone strikes because they caused civilian casualties, but "it was easier to say no to them in the beginning, but 'now it was more difficult' to do so," it quoted the former spymaster as saying.

"Admittedly the drone attacks had their utility, but they represented a breach of national sovereignty. They were legal according to American law but illegal according to international law," the report quoted the ISI chief as saying.

He also confirmed that Shamsi air base, in southwestern Pakistan, had been used for US drone strikes against people in the country.

Pakistan ordered US personnel to leave the base after botched US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011.

His interviews also laid bare extraordinary levels of distrust between Pakistan and the United States, particularly in 2011 when relations plummeted over the US raid that killed bin Laden and a CIA contractor who shot dead two Pakistanis.

Pasha said US arrogance "knew no limits" and accused the Americans of waging "psychological warfare" over the whereabouts of Taliban leader Mullah Omar and bin Laden's successor Ayman al-Zawahiri.

He quoted a US intelligence officer as saying "you are so cheap... we can buy you with a visa," and said himself that systemic failures showed Pakistan was a "failing state".

The Pakistani report condemned the US raid as an "American act of war" and said the military should have responded much more quickly to a three-hour operation, 100 miles inside its territory.

It was Pakistan's "greatest humiliation" since East Pakistan seceded in 1971, it said.

COMMENTS (52)

Omer Khan | 7 years ago | Reply

I understand the problems that our Security Agencies are facing in curbing terrorism. Its very complex. Imagine for instance that you are head of ISI. You want to get rid of all the TTP commanders and associates to curb terrorism. You know that agencies like RAW and Mossad are involved. And you do not have the latest technologies (Drones). So what do you do? In this scenario one would allow US to continue operating drones and provide information on the where about of the wanted TTP leaders (via ISI field agents) as long as the US coordinate and inform every time the Drones enter Pakistani airspace. Due to the anti US sentiment, the Government and the Army / ISI have on various denied that they have secretly given a nod to the US to operate drones in the Pakistani airspace. Another reason for denying this is that they fear a backlash from TTP and other organisations known to be collaborating with the banned outfits. People would call this a double policy but I would say that to keep TTP on the back foot we require such policies. And if one lies to save thousands is better than one speaks the truth and have thousands killed. So in my opinion as long as drones are used for the TTP commanders they are good for Pakistan and if they are used for other purposes then the Army and the Government should and must protest.

shah | 7 years ago | Reply

@ Liaqat

So army officers dont have the right to live in a good housing society????. It is really cheap to criticize them with the label of DHA. Now its a fact that army gets 18% of total budget, this means that all the work done with in this limit is great success.

This is a hard time for civilian govt to realize their duties and responsibility. Kindly improve your civil setup with good administration and discipline and come out of the inferiority complex of 'bloody civilians'

Improve your civil setup... its poor at the best !

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