Defending Pakistan's track record in pursuing and capturing al-Qaeda operatives, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan Chief of Army Staff, who was “held in high regard by the US Military” told visiting Senator Joseph Lieberman and U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan who accompanied him, in 2008, that “it was unjust to criticize Pakistan” for not locating Osama and his cohorts. Though the Pakistan army is favorably disposed to cooperation with the US, he felt that more visibility of its cooperation would impede military to military relationship because of “domestic political climate.”
A cable (136916:confidential) sent on January 11, 2008 from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, documented a meeting between U.S. Ambassador and Mr. Lieberman, and General Kayani. Mr. Lieberman raised the issue of locating Osama and the potential threat to the U.S.-Pakistan relationship during this meeting. He mentioned that the greatest threat facing the relationship between two countries was another terrorist attack on the U.S. In this context, General Kayani pointed that “statements by U.S. politicians and public figures suggesting the U.S. would take direct military action in Pakistan” would have a “detrimental effect.” While Mr. Lieberman agreed with General Kayani's remarks, he explained that such statements receive more media attention in Pakistan than in the U.S.
General Kayani felt that one of the challenges faced by the Pakistan army in its anti-terrorism strategy is the “centuries' old traditions and enmities” prevalent in many areas in Pakistan. This, in his opinion, made it difficult to secure the confidence and support of local communities. Hence, Kayani felt, that only a “pure military solution” will not yield result but it needed to be supplemented with civic and economic assistance that would bring basic services to remote areas. He assured Mr. Lieberman that Coalition Support Funds were being used appropriately in support of counterterrorism efforts.
When Mr. Lieberman pointed that Pakistan could emerge stronger if it sorted out its domestic issues better such as holding credible elections, General Kayani defensively explained that Pakistan's “political events needed to be viewed within its larger, historical and security context challenges it faced.”
Before concluding the meeting, General Kayani gave Mr. Lieberman a wish list seeking technical assistance in Intercept satellite phones (Thuraya), enhanced capability to monitor mobile phones, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and Aerial Collection Platform to intercept low power radio transmissions.