Party wants CIA chief ex­e­cuted for role in drone at­tacks

The Washington Times Daily - - World - BY ASIF SHAHZAD SEBASTIAN AB­BOT

IS­LAM­ABAD | A Pak­istani po­lit­i­cal party launched a full-throated at­tack on the CIA drone pro­gram Wed­nes­day, turn­ing up the heat on an is­sue that Is­lam­abad has tried to man­age with­out spark­ing a cri­sis with Wash­ing­ton.

The party re­vealed what it said is the name of the CIA’s top spy in the coun­try and called for him to be tried for mur­der.

U.S. mis­sile at­tacks tar­get­ing Is­lamic mil­i­tants in Pak­istan’s north­west have long been a source of ten­sion be­tween the two coun­tries, com­pli­cat­ing a trou­bled al­liance that Wash­ing­ton is re­ly­ing on to help ne­go­ti­ate an end to the war in neigh­bor­ing Afghanistan.

Fric­tion has in­creased in re­cent weeks with a pair of es­pe­cially con­tentious strikes: one that killed the Pak­istani Tal­iban’s leader as the gov­ern­ment pre­pared to in­vite him to hold peace talks, and another that oc­curred out­side the bound­aries of the coun­try’s tribal re­gion where most at­tacks have taken place.

The U.S. has shown no will­ing­ness to aban­don a tool it views as crit­i­cal to fight­ing al Qaeda and Tal­iban mil­i­tants based in Pak­istan who are out­side the reach of Amer­i­can sol­diers.

Pak­istani of­fi­cials reg­u­larly crit­i­cize the strikes as a vi­o­la­tion of the coun­try’s sovereignty and say they kill too many civil­ians. That has made the drone pro­gram un­pop­u­lar with the pub­lic.

But the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary are known to have se­cretly sup­ported at least some of the at­tacks.

One of the big­gest drone crit­ics has been the Pak­istan Tehreek-e-In­saf party, which is led by cricket star Imran Khan and con­trols the gov­ern­ment in north­west Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa prov­ince. Pak­istan Tehreek- e- In­saf has pushed the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, which is con­trolled by a ri­val party, to take ex­treme mea­sures like cut­ting off the NATO troop sup­ply line to Afghanistan.

Pak­istan Tehreek-e-In­saf’s in­for­ma­tion sec­re­tary, Shireen Mazari, sent a let­ter to po­lice Wed­nes­day call­ing for the CIA sta­tion chief in Is­lam­abad and agency di­rec­tor John O. Bren­nan to be tried for mur­der and “wag­ing war against Pak­istan” in con­nec­tion with a drone strike on an Is­lamic sem­i­nary in Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa’s Hangu dis­trict on Nov. 21.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd would not con­firm the Is­lam­abad sta­tion chief’s name and de­clined to com­ment. The As­so­ci­ated Press is not pub­lish­ing the name given by Ms. Mazari be­cause it could not ver­ify its authen­tic­ity.

It is the sec­ond time in re­cent years that Pak­ista­nis op­posed to drone strikes tar­get­ing Is­lamic mil­i­tants have claimed to have re­vealed the iden­tity of the top CIA spy in the coun­try.

Ms. Mazari claimed in her let­ter that the sta­tion chief does not en­joy diplo­matic im­mu­nity and should be pre­vented from leav­ing the coun­try. In­ter­ro­gat­ing him could pro­duce the names of the pi­lots who fly the drones, she said.

A spokes­woman for Pak­istan Tehreek-e-In­saf, Anila Khawaja, de­clined to say how the party ob­tained the sta­tion chief’s name.

Ms. Mazari said the strike in Hangu killed four Pak­ista­nis and two Afghans, and also wounded chil­dren.

Pak­istani in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials say the at­tack killed five Afghan mil­i­tants, one of whom was a deputy to the leader of one of the most dan­ger­ous groups fight­ing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.