Washington: Top US officials shared with Pakistani army and ISI chiefs crucial intelligence about two insurgent bomb-making factories in the tribal areas, but the information was leaked and militants vacated the sites before a military action could be taken, a media report said today.
“Twice in recent weeks, the United States provided Pakistan with the specific locations of insurgent bomb-making factories, only to see the militants learn their cover had been blown and vacate the sites before military action could be taken,” The Washington Post reported, quoting US and Pakistani officials.
Overhead surveillance video and other information was given to Pakistani officials in mid-May, the officials said, as part of a trust-building effort by the Obama administration after the killing of Osama bin Laden in a US raid in Abbottabad early last month.
The video of the two bomb-making factories was handed over to Pakistani army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI head Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha during a visit last month by Marc Grossman, the Obama administration’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and CIA Deputy Director Michael J Morell, the daily said.
But, Pakistani military units that arrived at the sites in the tribal areas of North and South Waziristan on June 4 found them abandoned, the report said. According to the Post, US officials say they do not know how the operation was compromised.
“But they are concerned that either the information was inadvertently leaked inside Pakistan or insurgents were warned directly by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI,” it said.
The leaking of the crucial intelligence information by someone inside the Pakistani establishment would be one of the major topics of discussions during CIA Director Leon Panetta’s ongoing visit to Islamabad, the report said.
The US argument, one official was quoted as saying, will be: “We are willing to share, but you have to prove you will act. Some of your people are no longer fully under your control.”
Officials said that video of the two installations indicated both were being used to manufacture improvised explosive devices, or IEDs — the roadside bombs that are the principal killers of US and coalition troops in Afghanistan.
While one was located in a girls’ school in the city of Miram Shah, home to the Haqqani network’s North Waziristan headquarters, the other, in South Waziristan, was thought to be an al-Qaeda-run facility.
The daily said the classified videos have also been shown to members of the Congressional intelligence committees. Satellite imageries showed that the two installations had been cleared out before Pakistani military units moved against them on June 4, according to the newspaper.