No defense control over ISI, Pakistan says

Dec. 22, 2011 at 2:08 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The Pakistani Ministry of Defense told the country's highest court it had no operational control over the military or the country's intelligence agency.

The Pakistani Supreme Court is debating a case involving an alleged top secret memo sent to Washington. It suggested President Asif Ali Zardari was afraid a military coup would follow the May 2 raid by U.S. Navy SEALs that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reports Thursday that the Defense Ministry, in a late-night memo to the court, said it didn't have any control over the military.

"The federal government, through the Ministry of Defense, conceded before the Supreme Court that it had no operational control over the armed forces as well as the Inter-Services Intelligence," the report read. "A one-page reply by the Defense Ministry said it was not in a position to submit any reply on behalf of the armed forces and the ISI."

Ties between Islamabad and Washington were strained following the May assault on bin Laden's compound inside Pakistan. Pakistan wasn't informed of the raid beforehand.

Relations were strained further following a November incident on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan that left dozens of Pakistani soldiers dead in an accidental NATO-led assault.

The U.S. Defense Department announced Thursday that U.S. forces involved in the assault acted appropriately given the information they had available at the time.

Nevertheless, the Pentagon concluded, "inadequate coordination" between U.S. and Pakistani military officers resulted in a "misunderstanding" about the exact location of Pakistani forces along the border.

"This, coupled with other gaps in information about the activities and placement of units from both sides, contributed to the tragic result," the Pentagon said in a statement.

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