Pakistan's intelligence chief will come with a list of requests, including drone technology, a senior Pakistani security official said Tuesday. Islam will also push for equipment Pakistani officials say will boost the accuracy of their F16 fleet, while laying out a plan to phase out CIA drones altogether, according to three other Pakistani officials.
From the Pakistani perspective, that plan would start with joint strikes, combining their F-16s and the CIA's drones. The drones would provide round-the-clock surveillance of the targets for the days and hours leading up to the strike, then Pakistani jets would hit the target.
The Pakistanis want U.S. permission to move the modernized F-16s it bought from the U.S. from southern Pakistan to a base that's only 30 minutes' flying time from North and South Waziristan. Other requests include help securing advanced fuel-tanker aircraft to keep the jets flying longer, as well as smaller, 200-pound precision bombs.
The White House and the CIA declined to comment. Pentagon spokesman George Little would not confirm the Pakistani proposal but said, "We seek to continue our counterterrorism cooperation with the Pakistanis — cooperation that goes back years."
Last year arguably marked the lowest point in U.S.-Pakistani relation, with Pakistan demanding an apology for the border skirmish where the U.S. killed 24 Pakistani troops.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized in early July, after months of refusals. The intelligence talks are one of the first signs that the apology unfroze contacts that the U.S. has found helpful in the past.
The U.S. also needs Pakistan as a supply route into Afghanistan and to help keep militants at bay. Clinton's apology cleared the way for overland supply routes into Afghanistan to be reopened and the two sides have nearly completed a formal agreement on how the routes will operate.
The reopening, in turn, cleared the way for the release of some $1.1 billion in U.S. funds that have been held up for months, top senators said Tuesday.
Dozier can be followed on Twitter (at)kimberlydozier.
Associated Press writers Kathy Gannon and Munir Ahmed contributed to this report from Islamabad.
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