Suspected US operatives lying low or leaving Pakistan following Davis’ arrest

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ISLAMABAD - At least thirty suspected covert US operatives have suspended their activities in Pakistan and twelve have already left the country following the arrest of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, sources have revealed.

In the aftermath of the January 27 shootings in Lahore by Davis, which left two Pakistani men dead, Pakistani intelligence agencies began scrutinising the records of Americans living in country, The Express Tribune reports.

The spy agencies discovered several discrepancies in their records, causing many suspected US operatives to maintain a low profile and some of them to leave the country altogether.

Although Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry states that there are 851 Americans with diplomatic immunity currently in the country, of whom 297 are not working in a diplomatic capacity, sources at the Interior Ministry put the number of non-diplomats at 414.

The majority of these ’special Americans’ (as the ministry refers to them) are concentrated in Islamabad, with some also residing in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. nterior ministry records show that most of them live in upscale neighbourhoods in Islamabad and Lahore, with smaller presences in Karachi and Peshawar.

Most of the ’special Americans’ are suspected of being operatives of US intelligence agencies who are on covert missions in Pakistan, reporting to the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), according to sources familiar with the situation.

Counter-intelligence agencies in Pakistan have long suspected a covert US espionage presence in Pakistan. The first internal investigation into suspicious activities by US citizens in the country was conducted in March 2009, which revealed some significant gaps in the implementation of laws concerning foreign citizens.

Under the Foreigners Act of 1946, foreign citizens are not allowed to live in cantonment areas anywhere in the country. Yet the majority of the suspected US intelligence operatives in Lahore are reportedly living in the Officers’/Generals’ Colony on Sarwar Road and Cavalry Ground in the Lahore Cantonment, the report said.

Sources say that the intelligence agencies’ reports state that many of the Americans living in these residences are assumed to be US Special Forces- including members of the covert Delta Force of the United States Army- and therefore, are considered armed and dangerous.

The report also claims that late US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke had visited one of the covert American teams in Lahore at a Sarwar Road residence owned by a retired army general. (ANI)

will not be displayed