Washington: CIA director Leon Panetta has told US lawmakers that his country has a very complicated relationship with Pakistan and both the countries often have conflicting viewpoint on different issues.
"I have to tell you that it (US-Pakistan) is very complicated and it does involve oftentimes conflicting viewpoints of how we deal with issues," Panetta told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The relationship between Pakistan and the US is one of the most complicated relationships that he has seen in a long time, he said in response to a question.
"On the one hand, obviously we are involved at targeting the leadership of al Qaeda there in the FATA. And we do get the cooperation of the Pakistanis in that effort in trying to target those individuals that concern us and that threaten this country, and threaten their country as well," Panetta noted.
"In addition to that we have gotten their cooperation on a military basis, being able to go into places like South Waziristan and have a military presence there, moving some troops from the Indian border for the purposes of doing that. And that has been appreciated as well," he said.
At the same time, Pakistan looks at issues related to their national interest and takes steps that further complicate its relationship and creates tensions between the two countries, Panetta said.
"That happens a great deal. Our effort is to try to work through those, because, in the end, what I try to convince the Pakistanis of is that we have a common enemy and we have common issues that require the cooperation and partnership of both countries in order to be able to deal with those threats.”
"Because we are involved in obviously very important efforts to deal with an enemy that threatens this country and we're doing it in their nation, in the FATA and the tribal areas, it does require that we have to go out of our way to do everything possible to get their cooperation," he said.
"And for that reason I spend an awful lot of time talking with my counterpart, both in Pakistan and here as well to try to see if we can focus on some common issues. We have some common areas that we can work on," he said.
"We work with them; we work with our Afghan counterparts, as well, to try to develop a coordinated approach to dealing with this.”
“At the same time, there are issues that we have with regards to how they operate, the ties they have to certain groups that concern us, that we try to work through in these discussions. I have to be part director of the CIA and part diplomat in order to get this job done," Panetta said.
Panetta said it is a fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power.
"One of those other complicating issues is the fact that they're a nuclear power. They have a number of nuclear sites throughout their country, and they have proceeded to keep up development of their nuclear weapons," he said.
First Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011, 10:31