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DG ISI conveys ‘no compromise’ message to Americans

WASHINGTON: Pakistan and the US have decided to expand counterterrorism efforts and increase mutual support to capture and kill terrorists in the volatile areas bordering Afghanistan.
The meetings of the visiting Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam continued on Thursday at different venues, where “all concerning issues were discussed,” according to a senior US official.
Another major point of contention – drone strikes – was also discussed. “Pakistan remained firm on its stance” commented a Pakistani official, adding that “no compromise,” was the message conveyed to Americans.
In various back and forth talks on the subject, Pakistan once again proposed using F-16s. In the end, “both parties decided that they should work through differences,” said the official.
CIA head General David Petraeus discussed action against terrorist groups at length with the DG ISI seeking the full support of the Pakistani spy agency. He offered to renew counterterrorism cooperation against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the region.
The Pakistani side expressed its frustration that Afghan and Nato forces were not taking action against the Taliban havens inside Afghanistan.
The DG ISI also had extended talks with intelligence and administration officials. He visited Mark Grossman, US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Lt Gen (R) Douglas Lute, President Obama’s special adviser for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Earlier Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam met with Deputy Director CIA Mike Morell, Senate Intelligence Committee chairperson Senator Dianne Feinstein, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, while ranking members like Dutch Ruppersberger were also present.
Sources familiar with the meeting told The News that the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator John Kerry also dropped by. John Kerry’s office confirmed the “short meeting” but declined to give details. The ISI chief concluded his tour on Friday.
Reuters adds: The US and Pakistani spy chiefs exchanged grievances in their first official meeting this week, sources familiar with the discussions said on Friday, but it was unclear if the two uneasy allies made any progress to end deep divisions on militants living in Pakistani tribal areas or on US drone strikes.
The sources said the two spy chiefs aired mutual grievances, but they did not appear to have made big strides on the main issues. Pakistan’s parliament has demanded an end to the drone strikes, but sources in Washington indicated that US officials did not yield to those demands.
“The discussions between General Zaheer and Director Petraeus were substantive, professional, and productive,” a US official said on condition of anonymity. “Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work together to counter the terrorist presence in the region that threatens both US and Pakistani national security.”

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