By IAN ALLEN intelNews.org
Pakistani newspaper The Daily Times has published what is probably the most significant report from Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in recent months. The paper quotes senior Pakistani government officials in arguing that intelligence cooperation and coordination between Washington and Islamabad is now “at its lowest level”.
One senior intelligence source describes the present situation as the latest stage in a gradual process of deterioration in relations between the two countries, beginning in 2001-2003, when “relations were good” and intelligence sharing was considerable in scale. As intelNews readers have known since November 16, 2008, these sharing arrangements included CIA-orchestrated airstrikes on Pakistani soil by unmanned drones, which the Pakistani leadership then secretly approved. However, The Daily Times reports that eventually Washington began notifying Islamabad just “minutes before carrying out strikes”.
In recent weeks “[t]he level of cooperation has gone so low that the US now even does not intimate Pakistan after a drone strike” (emphasis added,) according to one senior Pakistani security official. The same official suggests that the Americans have essentially stopped cooperating with Pakistani intelligence because they have now “established their own network of intelligence across FATA and they no longer need their Pakistani counterparts’ help”. This view was confirmed by Pakistani major general Tariq Khan, who told the paper that the CIA has now gained a foothold in the Tribal Areas and has probably penetrated militant networks operating along the Afghan-Pakistani border.