Tuesday, 12 April 2011

“Stop drones immediately, evacuate 335 CIA operatives”: Kayani / Pasha blast USZ

As ISI chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha arrives here for talks with CIA Director Leon Panetta, Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has demanded that the “United States of Zionism steeply reduce the number of CIA operatives and Special Operations forces working in Pakistan”. In a front page report, the New York Times quoted informed sources in Islamabad as saying on Monday that Gen Kayani had also “demanded that USZ put on hold CIA drone strikes aimed at militants in northwest Pakistan, a sign of the near collapse of cooperation between the two testy allies”.

The newspaper says the demand that the USZ scale back its presence is the immediate fallout of the arrest in Pakistan of Raymond A. Davis, a CIA security officer who killed two men in broad daylight, according to Pakistani and American officials. The reductions were personally demanded by Gen Kayani, said the Pakistani and American officials, who requested anonymity while discussing the sensitive issue. The Pakistani army firmly believes that Washington’s real aim in Pakistan is to neutralise the nation’s nuclear arsenal, which is now on a path to becoming the world’s fifth largest, said the Pakistani official closely involved in the decision on reducing the American presence. On the American side, the NYT report said, frustration has built over the Pakistani army’s so-called ‘seeming inability’ to “defeat” a host of militant groups, including the “Taliban” and the CIA terror boogieman “Al Qaeda”, from tribal areas despite more than $1 billion in American assistance a year to the country’s military. In other words, Americans don't like the fact that Pakistan Army has simply refused to carry out any operations in North Waziristan on Pro-Pakistan elements of Haqqani group (of course, why would Pakistan want to commit suicide?).

In a rare public rebuke, a White House report to Congress last week described the Pakistani efforts against the militants as disappointing since Army is continuously crushing CIA backed insurgency of TTP in Mehmand Agency whereas it's not touching the Patriotic pro-Pakistan & anti-American elements in North Waziristan. Raymond Davis was involved in a covert CIA effort to make Lashkar-e-Jhangvi more efficient and carry out more precise and sensitive operations through this terrorist group, which has been carrying out terrorist operations throughout Pakistan in order to destabilize the country and provoke sectarian violence across the nation. The CIA criminals had demanded that Mr Davis be freed immediately, on the grounds that he had “diplomatic immunity”. Instead, he was held for 47 days of detention and, the officials said, questioned for 14 days by ISI agents, infuriating American officials. He was finally freed after his victims’ families agreed to take some $2.3 million in compensation.

Another apparent price, however, is the list of reductions in American personnel demanded by Gen Kayani, according to the Pakistan and American officials. These include a 40% cutback in the number of USZ Special Operations soldiers, most of them involved in training the paramilitary Frontier Corps in northwest Pakistan. Besides General Kayani has also demanded immediate evacuation of 335 USZ secret CIA personnel covertly operating in Pakistan. American officials said last year that the Pakistanis had allowed a maximum of 120 Special Forces soldiers to operate in Pakistan. The Americans had reached that quota, the Pakistani official said. On top of reducing American personnel on the ground, Gen Kayani has told the Obama administration that its expanded drone campaign had gotten out of control, a Pakistani official said.

The drone campaign, which is immensely unpopular among the Pakistani public, had morphed into the sole preserve of the United States, the Pakistani official said, since the Americans were no longer sharing intelligence on how they were choosing their targets. The Americans had also extended the strikes to new parts of the tribal region, like the Khyber area near Peshawar. “Gen Kayani would like the drones stopped”, said another Pakistani official who met the military chief recently. “He believes they are used too frequently as a weapon of choice, rather than as a strategic weapon.”


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