CIA on recruitment spree in Pakistan | Pakistan Today

CIA on recruitment spree in Pakistan

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has stepped up recruitment of Afghans and local tribesmen in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas to spy on the Taliban and al Qaeda-linked militants, which is raising serious concern in the country’s security apparatus and the matter is likely to be taken up with Washington soon.
The CIA has reportedly been given additional Predator and Reaper drones by the US military as part of a major strategy shift that highlights the Obama administration’s belief that the country is unable, or unwilling, to target terrorist hideouts in the Tribal Areas.
“Apart from the stepped up drone strikes and coalition choppers’ attacks inside the country, reports of CIA recruiting spies from among the Afghans and local tribesmen in Waziristan and other Tribal Areas have raised many an eyebrow in Islamabad,” a senior Pakistani official, asking not to be named, told Pakistan Today.
“The aim of this CIA move is to spy on Al-Qaeda terrorists and the Taliban and help the coalition forces based in Afghanistan to take them out with drones. But this is again a breach of the country’s sovereignty and something totally unacceptable,” he said.
The official said the issue of recruitment of spies by CIA was likely to be raised soon with Washington along with a strong protest and warnings of negative impacts on bilateral relations.
A Pakistani diplomat, who also wished not being named, said intelligence reports from the Tribal Areas suggested that dozens of CIA agents, mostly local residents and Afghans, were active in North and South Waziristan as well as other agencies to locate the whereabouts of Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.
“We also have reports that these agents also guide drone attacks against militants in the Tribal Areas,” the diplomat said.
He said it was “almost impossible to give the exact number of these spies because there is little access to the tribal belt, but let me tell you, they are in large numbers”.
The Pakistani official added, “In addition to that, there were unconfirmed reports of the presence of foreign spies in Swat and nearby areas, where the Taliban were calling the shots before being ousted through a military operation in 2009.”
“However, these are unconfirmed reports, but as far as the case of the Tribal Areas is concerned, the matter will be taken up with the Obama administration with a demand to stop CIA’s recruitment of spies,” he said.

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