ISI-CIA Cooperation Continues As Military Ties Suffer: Ambassador Munter

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Context

While addressing the Harvard Kennedy School on Feb 13, US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter stated that despite the recent tensions, ISI and CIA have continued to cooperate but added that there is a contradiction between American short and long-term goals in Pakistan.

“In the long-term we have a commitment to stability and parallel processes to efforts in Pakistan,” Mr. Munter said, “but on the short-term we focus on counter-terrorism”.
He commented that Pakistani politicians do not want US to go away and made a distinction between the Pakistan’s state and its society. “Pakistani society is like a ship that sometimes can’t go forward and it can’t go backward, but it can’t sink,” he said. “It is resilient.”

He said Pakistan government considers itself an equal stakeholder in war against terror with USA, but added the cooperation between the intelligence organizations could be affected once Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha leaves the office. The comment defies the usually held perception that US is not happy with ISI and Gen Pasha.

Analysis

He further informed that the military-to-military ties between the two countries were also strained as military aid to Pakistan was suspended after Pakistan decided to remove American trainers. He also talked about the next generation of generals who are disconnected from American traditions and training and distrust their western counterparts.

He advised US to maintain policy of minimum interference and maximum decency over Pakistan’s affairs. He said Raymond Davis issue, operation against Osama bin laden, and American drone strike that killed 50 people in South Waziristan, all account for the worsening relations with Pakistan.

According to Munter, one of the other reasons for the stress between the two countries was overpromising by America. For example, American developments goals in Pakistan for 2008 that included women’s rights, water resources and telecommunications never materialized. However, he supported Pakistan’s goal of moving the relation from aid to one based on trade and investment.

Ambassador Munter hailed Pakistan’s sacrifices and efforts in the war against terrorism. He added that by recommitting to the development efforts in Pakistan, US could redeem its lost perception in Pakistan.