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Senior US spy official in Pakistan for trust gap talks

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Jul 21,IRNA -- A senior American spy official has arrived in Pakistan for talks with his counterparts to bridge the trust gap between inteligence agencies of the two countries, officials said Thursday.

Both intelligence agencies had been expressing doubts about each other after the US covert raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May.

James Clapper, Director of the US National Intelligence, arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday and will hold talks with Pakistani military officials to shore up cooperation in the war on terror. His visit is part of efforts by both sides to put troubled ties between the spy agencies of the US and Pakistani back on track.

'He is here to bridge the trust gap and repair ties...The visit reflects on how sensitive both sides are on salvaging their cooperation,' a senior Pakistani intelligence official was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune newspaper.

Clapper holds a key position in the US war on terror, serving as principal advisor to the President and overseeing and directing the national intelligence programme.

He is expected to meet army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and the intelligence chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

The visit comes in the wake of Pasha's one-day trip to Washington last week, during which he reportedly told his counterpart in the CIA that Pakistan will continue 'dismantling private networks' of local spies that the Americans had created over the past decade.

The Americans want the ISI not to touch its local associates and are pushing Pakistan to intensify intelligence cooperation, the daily quoted its sources as saying. A series of meetings between intelligence officials of both countries have focussed on these issues.

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