Friday, October 1, 2010
ISLAMABAD: Amid a dramatic increase in drone attacks on militants in the Waziristan tribal region, CIA chief Leon Panetta arrived here on Wednesday for talks with Pakistan's civil and military leadership.
Panetta's visit to Islamabad also coincides with reports in the media that Western intelligence agencies had uncovered a plot by Pakistani militants to carry out an attack in London and key cities in France and Germany. However, Pakistani officials have dismissed the reports.
Panetta is scheduled to meet Inter-Services Intelligence agency chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari, officials were quoted as saying by TV news channels.
Panetta's talks with the Pakistani leadership will focus on counter-terrorism cooperation, the situation in Afghanistan and other regional issues.
There was no official word from either side about the CIA chief's visit and such trips are traditionally kept away from the media glare.
The CIA chief's visit comes amidst a dramatic increase in drone attacks on militants in the Waziristan tribal region.
There have been 21 drone strikes in the region this month - the highest figure for any single month since the attacks began in 2004.
Media reports said a US drone strike on Saturday killed Sheikh Fateh al-Masri, Al Qaida's operational chief for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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