Comment: US-Pakistani Spy Relations Just Short of Open War



Officially, the United States and Pakistan are allies in the so-called “war on terrorism”. But diplomats and intelligence agents on the ground tell a very different story. For several months now, Washington and Islamabad have engaged in a low-intensity intelligence war, with the Pakistanis accusing the Americans of failing to share actionable intelligence, and the Americans blaming Pakistani security services for maintaining clandestine links with Taliban groups. On at least one occasion, a senior advisor to the US-backed Afghan leadership has claimed that Pakistani intelligence services provide assistance to suicide bombers willing to strike targets in Kabul and other cities and towns in Afghanistan.

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US embassy worker caught monitoring Pakistan naval site

Abdul Ghafoor's US embassy ID card

Ghafoor's ID card

Pakistani news outlets have reported the arrest last month of an employee at the US embassy in Islamabad who was reportedly caught monitoring Pakistan’s Naval Headquarters at Zafar Chowk, a site targeted by a suicide bomber on December 3. Leading Pakistani daily The Nation published the US embassy identity card of the man, Abdul Ghafoor, who was reportedly apprehended by Pakistani Naval Police and intelligence officers in the morning of November 18. Interestingly, Ghafoor, who was said to have been acting “suspiciously”, was found to be carrying a camera with him, and to be riding a motorcycle “with a number plate that was found to be fake when checked”. Several commentators have suggested that the case points to a routine surveillance operation, which warrants further investigation in light of the December 3 suicide bombing attack at the Naval Headquarters. Read more of this post

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