WASHINGTON, July 24: The United States stopped sharing intelligence with Pakistan on the whereabouts of Al Qaeda leaders because of fears that it may leak to the other side, the US media reported on Tuesday.
A Washington Post report said that ever since the Taliban rule ended in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda relocated to Pakistani tribal regions, the United States has been mounting CIA and military special operations to attack terrorist targets.
At one point, the United States even deployed Predator drones on Pakistani soil, as well as special operations planes and helicopters. The US also maintained a large CIA quick reaction force and field station just east of the tribal region in Tarbela, the report added.
CIA operations in Pakistan, the report claimed, were conducted with Islamabad’s consent and the Americans also respected Islamabad’s desire that US military forces do not operate inside the country.
The US spy agency, however, greatly reduced its presence in Pakistan when in April 2004, the situation in Iraq got out of control and Washington forced the agency to move its resources to the Arab country, the report added.
The CIA built its largest station in Iraq, greatly reducing its operations in Pakistan. Islamabad was also happy with this development as it wanted US aircraft and drones out of its territory. The paper indicated that after moving out most of its resources from Pakistan, the agency also reduced its intelligence sharing with Islamabad because of the fear that this may leak to Al Qaeda.
The United States was providing intelligence partly to justify US operations to Pakistani authorities and partly to push the Pakistanis themselves to go after the big fish, the report added.
At one stage, CIA and Pakistani intelligence agencies worked closely with each other to corner and kill Al Qaeda’s third-in command.
The Post noted that once the Pakistani offensive stalled and the “ceasefire” was reached with the tribal elements, US operations seemed to have stalled as well.