Pakistan's spy chief visits US amid tensions

Updated: 2011-04-11 15:49
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ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's spy chief was visiting the United States on Monday, where he was expected to meet with the head of the CIA at a time when the two nations' counterterrorism partnership is at a low point.

A Pakistani intelligence official confirmed Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha's trip and said the publicity-averse spy chief had arrived in America. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The U.S. considers its relationship with Pakistan key to bringing stability to Afghanistan, and the CIA has worked with Pasha's Inter-Services Intelligence agency to capture Taliban and al-Qaida militants and launch missile attacks on insurgents along the Afghan border.

But ISI was angered and embarrassed in January when an American CIA contractor shot and killed two Pakistanis in an incident that drew wide publicity and ramped up anti-American sentiment in Pakistan.

The US claimed the American, Raymond Allen Davis, had diplomatic immunity from prosecution and was acting in self-defense.

He was eventually released after his victims' families agreed to accept financial compensation, but some reports have said that as a result of the debacle, the two spy agencies are not cooperating as closely as they once did.

Adding to the tensions was a US missile strike that killed more than three dozen people in March.

Pakistan's army chief strongly condemned the strike, saying the drone-fired missiles struck a peaceful meeting of tribal elders near the Afghan border. A U.S. official denied innocent people were targeted.

Also, Pakistan last week rejected a White House report's conclusion that it was not doing enough to stop insurgent movements on its soil, and that it lacked a long-term strategy to stop militancy.