No boots on the ground, Pakistan tells America

ISLAMABAD: CIA Director Leon Panetta told Pakistan’s army and intelligence chiefs that he was concerned about a reduction of US troops allowed in the country, but was bluntly told no American boots would be allowed on the ground, Pakistani military officials said on Saturday. Panetta arrived in Pakistan on Friday in an unannounced visit. “He (Panetta) expressed concerns over the reduction of trainers and operatives. We told him very clearly ‘no boots on our soil is acceptable,” said the official. Panetta held talks with army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha. The Pakistani military released a statement saying: “Both sides discussed the framework for future intelligence sharing.” “There will be active intelligence sharing on both sides but there will be no American boots on our territory,” a third Pakistani military official said. “Any action against the militants will be taken by our forces alone but we will share intelligence on militants actively.” The United States gave Pakistan the locations of militant bomb-making factories last month, a US official said. The sites were later abandoned, suggesting there had been a tip-off. Panetta raised the issue in his talks with Pakistan’s army and intelligence chiefs, said the US official. A US embassy spokesman said he had no information on the talks. Reuters

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