WASHINGTON - Former CIA head and current US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta wanted to establish a parallel intelligence body inside Pakistan hidden from ISI and the idea was approved by the Obama administration, a noted Pakistani author said.
“Starting in September 2009, over several weeks, Obama conducted a long assessment of his options. The military wanted Obama to consider only three: dispatching 10,000 trainers, sending 40,000 troops, or sending 8,000 troops,” Rashid wrote.
He said there was little discussion of Afghanistan’s strategic political issues, such as its growing political and ethnic divisions, its economy, relations with Karzai, or the readiness of the Taliban for talks.
However, Pakistan occupied a lot of discussion but yielded few political answers, Rashid wrote.
“Instead Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, presented a list of clandestine counterterrorism operations that the CIA wanted to conduct in Pakistan, such as stepping up drone attacks, raising the number of CIA agents and covert contractors, and even setting up a parallel intelligence organisation that would be hidden from the ISI,” Rashid said.
“The CIA’s recommendations were accepted, but they soon led to a complete breakdown of relations with Pakistan.”
Rashid writes that both the Pakistani and the Afghan governments resented the fact that a major US escalation of troops was being undertaken without consulting them or soliciting their views.