Pakistan, US to Resume Joint Intelligence Operations

Posted June 3rd, 2011 at 9:10 am (UTC-5)
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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 says 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.

Friday's announcement comes after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Pakistani leaders to go after militant groups operating in the country, during a visit to Islamabad last week.

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 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.

Pakistan has since demanded a curtailing of CIA and U.S. Special Forces operatives in Pakistan. And on Thursday, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, acknowledged that the United States had made “significant” cuts to its military staff in Pakistan.

Pakistan received $2.7 billion in security-related assistance from the United States in the fiscal year that ended last September. The country is the third-largest recipient of U.S. security aid and reimbursements, after Afghanistan and Israel.

Some U.S. lawmakers have threatened to cut off funding and questioned Pakistan's commitment to fighting militancy.