US-Pakistan meetings went off 'very well'

Pakistani embassy official says talks held in Washington by ISI chief will help stabilise the intelligence partnership.

    Many Pakistanis have been upset with the US attack in the May 2 commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden [EPA]

    Pakistan sources say meetings between US and Pakistani spy chiefs have gone "very well" in Washington DC as part of the two countries' efforts to mend ties after the May 2 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda's leader.

    Both sides sought to renew ties of co-operation in through the meetings that took place on Wednesday and Thursday between Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and Michael Morell, the acting CIA chief, as well as other US intelligence officials.

    "Both sides were able to agree on the way forward in intelligence," a Pakistani official told the Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity. "This visit has put the intelligence component back on track completely."

    An official at the Pakistani embassy in Washington said the meetings helped stabilise the intelligence partnership between the two countries.

    "The discussions today between General Pasha and the acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency went very well," a US official said on condition of anonymity.

    "They agreed on a number of steps that will improve Pakistani and US national security."

    Pasha's visit came just days after the US suspended $800m of military aid to Pakistan, allegedly over non-co-operation of this South Asian country in the fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban.

    A Pakistani official had said prior to the talks that Islamabad was backing away from demands that US military personnel vacate Shamsi Air Base, in Baluchistan province, used for launching drone attacks.

    The official said they are satisfied for now with a US agreement to launch drone strikes in Pakistan from US bases in neighbouring Afghanistan, and restricting the use of Shamsi only for drones that need to land because of bad weather.

    The US and Pakistan are old allies, but their relationship has been strained since US commandos killed bin Laden in a commando raid about 60km from the capital city, Islamabad.

    Pakistan branded the operation a violation of its sovereignty and Pasha offered to resign.

    "We have had difficulties since May 2," the senior Pakistani official said. "Those difficulties are being addressed."

    Pasha had also been expected to meet the heads of congressional intelligence committees during this visit, but the meeting did not happen because of time constraints, a US source familiar with the visit said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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