Islamabad: The Central Intelligence Agency’s Islamabad Station Chief has made an exit from Pakistan marking the second time the agency`s most senior officer has left the country in the past seven months.
The officials from Pakistan and the US said that the chief has left Islamabad for medical reasons and would not be returning.
He is said to have overseen the intelligence operation that found former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
The Islamabad station chief had arrived only late last year after his predecessor was essentially run out of town when a Pakistani official admitted his name had been leaked.
According to ABC News, the departure of two station chiefs in such a short time threatens to upset the balance of a vital intelligence office.
US officials, however, insisted that the quick turnover would not harm their country’s intelligence efforts in Pakistan.
Both US and Pakistani officials hoped the station chief`s exit would lead to improved relations between the ISI and the CIA as the departing chief had an "extremely tense" relationship with his ISI counterparts including Director General Ahmad Shuja Pasha.
One of the US officials said the CIA chief was about to depart in few months due to his poor relations with the Pakistanis.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) relationship has been strained to breaking point since Pakistani intelligence officials discovered the CIA secretly recruited Pakistani agents to help find Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
The tension seems to stem from the ISI`s belief that the CIA is still running a clandestine network of American and Pakistani intelligence agents without sharing enough information with the ISI about their identities.
The CIA declined to comment on the station chief’s exit.