US warns Pak that CIA-ISI impasse may be taken over by uncontrollable political forces

February 25th, 2011 - 1:30 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 25(ANI): The United States has warned Pakistan that once beyond a tipping point, the standoff between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pakistani Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) would be taken over by political forces that could not be controlled.

A host of top American military officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen and ISAF commander General David Petraeus, held a secret day-long meeting with Pakistan’s top military officers, including Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani, in Oman on Tuesday to plot a course out of the diplomatic crisis that threatens the US-Pakistan relationship.

The meeting covered various aspects of the US-Pak relationship, but a large portion was dedicated to the diplomatic crisis surrounding Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor who was arrested for shooting dead two Pakistani men last month in Lahore.

“The US had to point out that once beyond a tipping point the situation would be taken over by political forces that could not be controlled,” Foreign Policy quoted former Pakistan army chief General Jehangir Karamat, as writing about the meeting, referring to the reported split between the CIA and the ISI that erupted following the Davis shooting incident.

US officials implored the Pakistan military to step up its involvement in the Davis case, following the Pakistan government’s decision to pass the buck to the judicial system on adjudicating Davis’ claim of diplomatic immunity. However, their concerns also went beyond this most recent diplomatic spat.

A senior Pakistani official confirmed the accuracy of Karamat’s analysis, and said that the Davis incident would hopefully now be put on a path toward resolution following a feeding frenzy in the Pakistani media, which has reported on rumours of an extensive network of CIA contract spies operating outside of the knowledge of the Pakistan government or the ISI.

But once the Davis case is resolved, there is still much work to be done in repairing the CIA-ISI relationship. The ISI is widely suspected of airing its anger with the CIA in both the Pakistani and US media for being treated “like their lackeys.”

“It’s a spy game being played out in the media and the CIA has told the ISI to cut it out,” said the official, adding, “The relationship remains testy. But after the meeting between Mullen and Kayani the likelihood of some resolution has increased.”

The gentlemen’s agreement between the ISI and the CIA that the two organisations would keep each other informed on their actions in Pakistan has now broken down.

“It’s a vicious circle. Davis was in Pakistan because Pakistan can’t be trusted. But Davis getting caught has increased the mistrust,” the Pakistani official said.

“Their interests are no longer congruent. Eventually the ISI and the CIA will have to work out new rules of engagement,” the official added. (ANI)

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