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Friday, April 15, 2011

CIA will not halt operations in Pakistan: official

WASHINGTON: The Central Intelligence Agency has no plans to suspend "operations" in Pakistan against terror suspects despite objections from officials in Islamabad, a US official here said.

Pakistan has criticized missile strikes by US drone aircraft in the country but CIA Director Leon Panetta has told intelligence officials that he has a duty to prevent attacks on the United States, the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

"Panetta has been clear with his Pakistani counterparts that his fundamental responsibility is to protect the American people, and he will not halt operations that support that objective," the official said.

The CIA chief on Monday held several hours of talks at the agency's headquarters outside Washington with Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

US media had reported that Pasha and other officials told the United States to rein in drone strikes and slash the number of CIA agents and special forces operating in Pakistan.

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