Washington: A United States (US) official on Thursday said that the US and Pakistani spy masters held “productive” talks Thursday on ways to work together to fight extremists, in a new sign of easing tensions between the countries.
According to AFP, Lieutenant General Zaheer ul-Islam, the new chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is paying the first visit to Washington after taking his charge.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the US official said that Islam met with Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus and held “substantive, professional and productive” talks.
“The talks provided an opportunity to discuss a number of proposals for how we can enhance our joint efforts against terrorism,” the official said.
“Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work together to counter the terrorist presence in the region that threatens both US and Pakistani national security,” he said.
The official did not go into further detail. The United States has been looking for ways to cooperate with the ISI, whose relationship with US spies has swung from friendly to hostile in recent years.
The remarks echo those of the US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, who on a visit to Pakistan on Thursday praised “significant progress” in improving cooperation between the two countries.
Tensions were on peak between the two intelligence chiefs after US forces secretly penetrated the country and killed the world’s most wanted man Osama bin Laden, who was living in the cantonment area of Abbottabad.
A breakdown of relationship occurred between the two countries after US forces attacked a Pakistan army check-post at Salala in November, 2012, killing 24 soldiers and prompting the country to close supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan.
Tensions have since eased, with Pakistan reopening the routes after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month apologized for the deaths. Pakistan on Tuesday signed a deal to keep the border open to convoys until the end of 2015, by which time the United States plans to withdraw most forces.
Frustrated with Pakistan, US intelligence has defiantly carried out drone attacks deep inside the country, despite Islamabad’s protests that the unmanned strikes violate its sovereignty.
US officials have repeatedly pressed Pakistani intelligence over its alleged relationship with the Haqqani network, which is blamed for attacks in Afghanistan including a siege last year of the US embassy.