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ISI chief lands in Washington, talks on drone attacks expected

HOUSTON: Inter-services Intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam arrived in the US capital on Tuesday on his first official trip to Washington DC since assuming office.
A source privy to the matter told The Express Tribune that Lt. Gen Zaheerul Islam had arrived in the US Capital where he is expected to meet with CIA Director General David Petraeus. The two are due to discuss matters pertaining to counter-terrorism and intelligence.
Earlier, ISPR had announced that Lt. Gen Islam, who had replaced Lt. Gen Shuja Pasha in March, would embark on an official visit from August 1-3.
The visit comes less than 24 hours after the US and Pakistan signed an MoU to formally reopen the NATO supply routes.
New mechanism for drone attacks
One of the topics which will come under discussion are the drone strikes. Pakistan has repeated called for an end to the strikes, calling them counterproductive.
At Langley, the ISI chief is expected to push on with a new mechanism for drone attacks which would involve the US sharing actionable intelligence on targets with Pakistan.
A senior Pakistani security official had earlier told AFP that the pair would discuss counter-terror cooperation and intelligence sharing.
Talks on ‘veritable arms’?
With the clamour in Washington rising on action against the Haqqani Network, who many on Capitol Hill believe still have ties with the ISI, talks are expected to cover sterner action against the network.
The US Senate approved a bill last week by voice vote which requires the US State Department to submit a report within 30 days of it being signed by President Obama, certifying whether the Haqqani Network fits the criteria to be labelled a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organisation’.
Former US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen in a famous quote days before he left office had termed the Miranshah based group a ‘veritable arm of the ISI’. The group is also believed to be responsible for deadly attacks in Kabul earlier this year, and the Salerno base suicide bombing in June among a host of other attacks in Afghanistan.(Tribune)

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