WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and Pakistani spy chiefs made progress in mending rifts in a relationship that had soured over the U.S. raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during meetings at CIA headquarters, U.S. and Pakistani officials said on Thursday.
Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha made a brief visit to Washington, arriving on Wednesday and leaving on Thursday, to meet with Acting CIA Director Michael Morell and other intelligence officials. Both sides sought to renew ties of cooperation and move forward in an often challenging relationship.
“The discussions today between General Pasha and the acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency went very well,” a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.
“They agreed on a number of steps that will improve Pakistani and U.S. national security,” the official said, without disclosing any more details.
A senior official at the Pakistani embassy in Washington said the meetings helped stabilize the intelligence partnership between the two countries.
“Both sides were able to agree on the way forward in intelligence,” the Pakistani official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “This visit has put the intelligence component back on track completely.”
The relationship between U.S. and Pakistani intelligence services was especially strained after U.S. special forces conducted a secret raid in Pakistan in May that killed bin Laden.
Pakistan branded the operation a violation of its sovereignty and Pasha offered to resign.
“We have had difficulties since May 2,” the senior Pakistani official said. “Those difficulties are being addressed.”
Pasha had also been expected to meet with the heads of congressional intelligence committees during this visit, but the meeting did not happen because of time constraints, a U.S. source familiar with the visit said.
Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; editing by Todd Eastham