Pakistan spy chief's visit to US 'went very well'

United States and Pakistani spy chiefs made progress in mending rifts in a relationship that had soured over the US raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during meetings at Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters, officials said on Thursday.

Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha made a brief visit to Washington, arriving on Wednesday and leaving on Thursday, to meet with acting CIA director Michael Morell and other intelligence officials. Both sides sought to renew ties of cooperation and move forward in an often challenging relationship.

“The discussions today [Thursday] between General Pasha and the acting director of the CIA went very well,” a US official said on condition of anonymity.

“They agreed on a number of steps that will improve Pakistani and US national security,” the official said, without disclosing any more details.

‘Back on track’
A senior official at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington said the meetings helped stabilise the intelligence partnership between the two countries.

“Both sides were able to agree on the way forward in intelligence,” the Pakistani official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “This visit has put the intelligence component back on track completely.”

The relationship between US and Pakistani intelligence services was especially strained after US Special Forces conducted a secret raid in Pakistan in May that killed Bin Laden.

Pakistan branded the operation a violation of its sovereignty and Pasha offered to resign.
“We have had difficulties since May 2,” the senior Pakistani official said.
“Those difficulties are being addressed.”

Pasha was expected to meet with the heads of congressional intelligence committees during this visit but the meeting did not happen because of time constraints, a US source, familiar with the visit, said.—Reuters

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