Tags: CIA Pakistan

CIA Promises to 'Respect' Pakistan Sovereignty

Thursday, 30 Sep 2010 09:21 AM


Pakistan said Thursday that visiting CIA chief Leon Panetta had promised to respect its sovereignty and examine reports that NATO helicopters conducted deadly cross-border raids from Afghanistan.

Panetta has been holding talks with Pakistani leaders in the wake of reports that Western intelligence agencies uncovered an Al-Qaeda plot hatched in Pakistan to carry out attacks in Britain, France and Germany.

The spy chief's visit also comes amid an intensification in the covert American drone war against Al-Qaeda-linked commanders in North Waziristan, Pakistan's most notorious stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants.

Pakistan shut down the main land route for NATO supplies into Afghanistan on Thursday after officials accused NATO of killing two Pakistani troops in the fourth cross-border attack this week.

According to a statement from Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's office, Panetta assured him that "the US government would look into the incidence of NATO-International Security Assistance Force intrusion".

"Pakistan?s sovereignty will be fully respected and the US will try its utmost to provide timely and credible information to Pakistan?s side against any possible terrorist activity on its side of the border to enable Pakistani forces to take prompt action against the miscreants," he was quoted as saying.

Pakistan said Panetta called for further strengthening of the "cooperation and coordination" between both countries on "national and regional issues".

Panetta also held talks with Pakistan's army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani and "discussed the matters of mutual interest," the military said.

There was no comment from the US embassy.

Pakistan, which is under US pressure to do more to crack down on Al-Qaeda-linked extremists holed up in its territory, has dismissed reports that extremists in Pakistan were plotting major European terror attacks.

Security officials believe the alleged leaked terror plot could increase pressure on Pakistan to fight in North Waziristan, a vortex of Afghan, Pakistani and Arab militants and a possible hiding place of Osama bin Laden.

Despite US pressures, Pakistani forces have been reluctant to launch an operation in North Waziristan, fearing a backlash of increased attacks on civilians by Islamist militants.

Pakistani officials have reported at least 21 drone strikes in Waziristan so far in September -- the highest ever number in a single month.

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