Tensions between Pakistan and the U.S. intensified Monday when senior Pakistani officials visiting Washington D.C. demanded that CIA officers and special operations forces leave the country, Pakistani and U.S. officials told The Examiner.
Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha met with CIA director Leon Panetta Monday and discussed the matter at length. Pasha also requested that drone strikes in the lawless tribal lands be halted after a drone attack last month killed 40 civilians, a Pakistani official said. He said the number of U.S. personnel that will be asked to leave is over 300.
Pakistan’s top Army Gen. Parvez Kayani had originally requested the changes, the New York Times reported Monday.
“Pasha was here for the day and met with his counterpart Panetta,” a Pakistani official told The Examiner. “These are the demands from Pakistan’s side and they transpired from events surrounding Raymond Davis and the needless deaths of civilians by recent drone strikes in Pakistan.”
Davis, a CIA security officer, killed two men during an attempted robbery in January. Davis said both men were armed.
Pakistani officials accuse the CIA of trying to collect information on it’s nuclear arsenal, they said.
CIA Spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood confirmed the meetings saying “director Panetta and General Pasha held productive discussions today, and the CIA-ISI relationship remains on solid footing.”
She said Pakistan and the U.S. Pakistan have mutual interests, and “need to continue to work closely together, including on our common fight against terrorist networks that threaten both countries.”
However, a U.S. Official said “some Pakistani officials…are saying things that just don’t add up.”
“The bottom line is that joint cooperation is essential to the security of the two nations. The stakes are too high,” the U.S. official added. “The United States expects to continue its aggressive counterterrorism operations in Pakistan, and it would be unfortunate if the Pakistanis somehow stepped back from counterterrorism efforts that protect Americans and their citizens alike.”