ISLAMABAD – CIA Director William Burns, government officials have privately started confirming a secret visit to Islamabad and suggest he was strongly told that the drone bases of the spy agency would not be located in Pakistan on his territory.
This is after the New York Times in its June 6 article claimed that Mr Burning had been to Pakistan to meet Chief of Army Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI General Director Lt Gen Faiz Hamid to explore the possibility of cooperation between both sides on counter-terrorism.
It has been said that the Central Intelligence Agency is looking for bases in Afghanistan where intelligence can be collected and counter-terrorism strikes carried out after the retirement troops have been completed.
While answering a question about the US looking for a drone base in Pakistan, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said: “There have been constructive discussions with Pakistan on the future of America’s abilities to ensure that Afghanistan can never again be a basis from which Al-Qaeda rises or any other terrorist group can attach.. “We have had constructive discussions with Pakistan
Although it is not known by either side the exact date of the CIA Director’s hours’ trip, it is believed that it took place at the end of April.
“William Burns visited Islamabad ‘secretly’ to investigate potential cooperation on terrorist issues”.
At this point the purpose of quietly sharing information with selected journalists by the Pakistani officials apparently disregarded the impression that both sides were involved in negotiations on hosting Pakistan’s US drone bases.
The New York Times article once said US officials believed that the US would have access to a base from Pakistan. However, it indicated that Pakistani officials laid down very strict conditions.
“In discussions among U.S. and Pakistani officials, the Pakistani demanded several limitations on the use of a base in Afghanistan and, according to three Americans, were familiar with discussions, they actually required signing off any targets that either CIA or the military would like to hit inside Afghanistan.”
The discussions have been on this issue at various levels over the past few weeks between Pakistan and America — Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, State Secretary Antony Blinken, NSA Moeed Yusuf, and its American counterpart Jake Sullivan, and defense secretary Lloyd Austin.
The CIA leader said that he wanted to meet Premier Imran Khan but it was clear that only a counterpart meeting between the two countries’ heads of government could be held.
The emphasis of the government in the counterpart meeting is also due to its anger at the fact that President Joe Biden has not taken office at the top level since January.
Furthermore, officials told the CIA chief that no US operation from Pakistan was permitted by CIA chief. They suggested that they had asked the people of the United States to hand over their drones for the strikes against terrorist targets.
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