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Pakistan's ISI chief in Washington for 'frank' talks

Pakistani spy master Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha flew into Washington for what an official called a "frank discussion" with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Panetta on the strained US-Pakistan relationship.

world Updated: Apr 12, 2011 10:59 IST

Pakistani spy master Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha flew into Washington for what an official called a "frank discussion" with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Panetta on the strained US-Pakistan relationship.

The CIA and Pakistan's spy agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) have been at odds over a number of issues including the CIA's use of unmanned drones to attack suspected terrorists in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Also at issue has been the extent of the Pakistani government's counterterrorism efforts, the publication of the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad and the incident involving Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor who fatally shot two men in Lahore.

CIA spokesman Preston Golson called the discussions between Pasha and Panetta "productive" and said the "CIA-ISI relationship remains on solid footing."

Referring to news reports that Pakistani officials have made demands on the United States to scale back its presence and its counterterrorism operations in the country, an unnamed US official cited by CNN said, "Pakistan has asked for certain things and we're working it out," but the official would not elaborate.

Another US official cited by CNN acknowledged that Pakistan has requested a number of American personnel leave the country, but said a New York Times report indicating that 335 CIA and American special forces personnel have been asked to depart is a "very inflated number."

The official also disputed the claim in the Times story that the CIA has withdrawn all of its contractors after the arrest of Davis in January. "There has been no major withdrawal of contractors," the unnamed official was quoted as saying.

Although there has not been a CIA missile strike since March 17 when approximately 40 people were killed in North Waziristan, the official said the US "is committed to pursuing aggressive counterterrorism operations."

Pakistani control over who enters the country has had an impact on the United States. The American official indicated that since the ordeal with Davis, it has been "taking longer for American military and intelligence officials to gain entry" into Pakistan.