US 'not to withdraw named Pakistan CIA chief'

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Kabul, Afghanistan - photo 16 April Mr Gilani said the US raid was "a violation of sovereignty"

The US has said it will not withdraw the CIA station chief in Pakistan, despite his name being leaked to local media last week.

But officials quoted by US media said the name published in Pakistani news outlets was spelt incorrectly.

Relations between the countries have been under severe strain since a US raid killed Osama Bin Laden last week.

Last year the former head of the CIA in Islamabad had to be withdrawn after his identity was revealed in the media.

On Friday, the private TV channel ARY broadcast what it claimed was the current CIA station chief's name. The Nation, a right-wing newspaper, then reported the story on Saturday, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Some unnamed US officials are reported to have said that the latest leak was a deliberate move by the authorities in Pakistan, which they say was intended to divert attention from questions over Bin Laden's presence in their country.

Asad Munir, a former intelligence chief with responsibility for Pakistan's tribal areas, where a number of militants find sanctuary, said the release of the name would not necessarily put the official at risk.

"Normally people in intelligence have cover names. Only if there is a photograph to identify him could it put his life in danger," Mr Munir told AP.

Bin Laden was killed in a US raid on a compound in Abbottabad, close to Islamabad and hundreds of metres away from the prestigious Pakistan Military Academy.

There have been suspicions - strongly denied by Pakistan - that someone in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, which has a long history of contacts with militant groups, may have helped hide Bin Laden.

On Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted that allegations of Pakistani complicity and incompetence were "absurd".

He said that Pakistan was "determined" to examine the failures to detect Bin Laden and stressed that the country's relationship with the US was still strong.

Map of Abbottabad
Diagram of the compound

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