Pakistan, US to Resume Joint Intelligence Operations

Posted June 3rd, 2011 at 4:10 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Pakistan's foreign ministry has confirmed that Pakistan and the United States will resume joint intelligence operations against Islamist militants, in a step toward mending strained relations between the two countries.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said Friday U.S. and Pakistani teams will share intelligence, but she would not comment on whether U.S. forces would be allowed to conduct joint operations on Pakistani soil.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan have hit a low point following the U.S. military raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden on May 2. Pakistani leaders have warned against any future unilateral actions, calling the operation a violation of the country's sovereignty.

Ties were already strained before the al-Qaida leader's death, following a series of U.S. drone strikes against militants in Pakistan's northwest and the detention of a CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in January.

Also Friday, Pakistan intelligence officials said a volley of American drone-fired missiles hit three compounds in a northwestern insurgent stronghold, killing at least four people.

Elsewhere, the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for a deadly cross-border attack on a security checkpoint near Pakistan's northwestern Dir tribal area. The government says up to 400 militants had swarmed the area.

Fierce fighting between Afghan-based militants and Pakistani forces began Wednesday and is blamed for the deaths of at least 65 people.

On Friday, Pakistani officials said the military used artillery and helicopter gunships to force back a second wave of insurgents who crossed over from Afghanistan.

The officials said Friday's counterattack had the militants on the run. They did not give any information on possible casualties.

Taliban and al-Qaida linked militants have strongholds on both sides of the porous Afghan-Pakistani border.

The fighting comes as a top Pakistani army commander said the military has no plans to launch an offensive against Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Lieutenant General Asif Yasin Malik refuted media reports earlier this week that said the military was planning such an operation at the request of the United States. He said Pakistan will undertake that type of offensive when it is in the country's national interest.

Militants have launched a number of attacks against Pakistani security forces following the May 2 killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.