ISI and CIA run joint operations in FATA
The US has been critical of Pakistan’s efforts to root out insurgency leadership in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas(FATA). Much of the worst criticism has been reserved for Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) long suspected of offering covert support and sympathy to the insurgency. However, as it often the case with these issues the reality is more comples, and what is presented for consumption by the general public is only part of the story.
Recently an unnamed source within ISI leaked the fact that the CIA and the ISI together have run over 60 operations against Al-Qaeda and other key extremist commanders attempting to hide in the FATA region and Baluchistan. The missions allegedly included “snatch and grabs” operations, the abduction of insurgency commanders, as well as assassination attempts on extremist leaders. The operations were carried out on the basis of intelligence inputs provided by both the US and the Pakistani agencies showing that the level of partnership and co-operation runs deeper than casual observers are led to believe.
Although President Obama and his top aides have never discussed these highly classified missions in public, such counterterrorism operations are expected to increase, along with the deployment of 30,000 more US forces in the next year, as part of the revamped strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
US Central Command Chairman General David Petraeus has also made it clear that following the surge there would be more focus on the counterterrorism operations.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, earlier this month, General Petraeus had said that more such commando offensive against hard-core Al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists could be seen in the near future.
“We actually will be increasing our counterterrorist component of the overall strategy,” General Petraeus had told the Senators.