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CIA chief leaves Pak without deal on resetting ties with ISI

world Updated: Jun 12, 2011 11:36 IST

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CIA chief Leon Panetta has left Pakistan without reaching a deal on resetting the troubled relationship with ISI during meetings with the country's top military leaders.

Panetta, who arrived on an unscheduled visit on Friday evening, did not meet anyone other than army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI head Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, a media report said here today.

He met the two leaders at Army House in Rawalpindi over dinner and discussed what was described by the Inter-Services Public Relations as a "framework for future intelligence sharing."

The CIA chief's departure on Saturday morning without routine calls on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was seen by observers as a sign of the stalemate in his discussions with the military leadership, the Dawn newspaper reported.

According to the daily's sources, Panetta was "surprised by the rigidity shown by the military, which went to the extent of even declining an offer by Washington of security assistance."

Government officials insisted that unlike in the past, Panetta was not scheduled to meet anyone else during his visit, the report said.

US media reports said Panetta had confronted Pakistan's military leadership with evidence of collusion between militants and Pakistani security officials, causing fresh strains in the troubled relations between the two countries.

Panetta presented the evidence during his meeting with Kayani and Pasha.

The CIA had passed intelligence in the past few weeks to its Pakistani counterparts on two facilities where militants made improvised explosive devices but when Pakistani forces raided the facilities, the militants had disappeared.

The CIA chief showed Pasha "satellite and other intelligence that the CIA believes is evidence of Pakistani security's efforts to help Islamic militants based in Pakistan," ABC News quoted US and Pakistani officials as saying.

Panetta shared with the Pakistani Generals a "10-minute edited video that shows the militants evacuating two bomb factories in Waziristan, another report said.

Even before Panetta's visit, Kayani had made it clear that the army would not allow the CIA to carry out independent operations in Pakistan and that any future intelligence cooperation would be reciprocal and transparent.

Panetta "did little to pacify Pakistani Generals" and instead confronted them with evidence of collusion with Taliban militants, the Dawn reported.

This would further sour the relationship which had already been under strain since the start of this year and got worse after the May 2 US raid against Osama bin Laden, a source told the daily.

The CIA chief, who is set to take over as the next US Defence Secretary, reportedly used the leaking of evidence provided by the CIA as an instance to tell the army and intelligence chiefs why America distrusted the Pakistani military establishment and needed to have its own independent operations inside the country to deal with al-Qaeda and Taliban, the report said.

Panetta reportedly tried to convince the Pakistanis to allow some critical CIA operations to continue after the agency was asked to cut down its footprint.

He asked for some CIA operatives to be given visas to enable them to enter Pakistan and work independently, the report said.

Kayani and Pasha are reported to have insisted on joint operations and intelligence sharing but no independent operations.

They said a recently-constituted joint task force for coordination of intelligence activities should be the nerve centre of any future ISI-CIA collaboration.