updated 3/26/2012 9:59:27 PM ET 2012-03-27T01:59:27

In a bid to save the CIA's drone campaign against al-Qaida in Pakistan, U.S. officials offered key concessions to Pakistan's spy chief that included advance notice and limits on the types of targets. But the offers were flatly rejected, leaving U.S.-Pakistani relations strained as President Barack Obama prepares to meet Tuesday with Pakistan's prime minister.

CIA Director David Petraeus, who met with Pakistan's then-spy chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha at a meeting in London in January, offered to give Pakistan advance notice of future CIA drone strikes against targets on its territory in a bid to keep Pakistan from blocking the strikes — arguably one of the most potent U.S. tools against al-Qaida.

The CIA chief also offered to apply new limits on the types of targets hit, said a senior U.S. intelligence official briefed on the meetings. No longer would large groups of armed men rate near-automatic action, as they had in the past — one of the so-called "signature" strikes, where CIA targeters deemed certain groups and behavior as clearly indicative of militant activity.

Video: Officials demand end to CIA drones in Pakistan (on this page)

Pasha said then what Pakistani officials and its parliament have repeated in recent days: that Pakistan will no longer brook independent U.S. action on its territory by CIA drones, two Pakistani officials said. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive negotiations.

Pasha went further, saying Pakistan's intelligence service would no longer carry out joint raids with U.S. counterterrorist teams inside its country, as it had in the past. Instead, Pakistan would demand that the U.S. hand over the intelligence, so its forces could pursue targets on their own in urban areas, or send the Pakistani army or jets to attack the targets in the tribal areas, explained a senior Pakistani official.

The breakdown in U.S.-Pakistani relations follows a series of incidents throughout 2011 that have marred trust — from a CIA security officer who shot dead two alleged Pakistani assailants, to the U.S. Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May, to the border incident where U.S. forces returned fire they believed came from a Pakistani border post, killing 24 Pakistani troops. The diplomatic fallout has led to the ejection of U.S. military trainers who'd worked closely with Pakistani counter-insurgent forces, slowed CIA drone strikes, and almost halted the once-common joint raids and investigations by Pakistan's intelligence service together with the CIA and FBI.

Pasha's pronouncements were in line with the Pakistani parliament's demands issued last week that included ceasing all U.S. drone strikes as part of what Pakistani politicians call a "total reset" in its relationship. Pakistan's parliament last week demanded cessation of all unilateral U.S. actions including the drone strikes.

Other US officials said no such concessions were offered to Pasha, and insisted US counterterrorism actions continued as before.

Difficult meeting for Obama
The hardening positions on both sides set up a potentially rocky meeting ahead between Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in South Korea on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit. President Asif Ali Zardari met with special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Mark Grossman in Tajikistan this week, and Central Command chief Gen. James Mattis is headed to Pakistan in April.

Complicating efforts to restore relations are the demands made by a Pakistani parliamentary committee.

A personality change at the top of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence is another wrinkle, with Pasha now replaced by Army Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam officially last week, a senior U.S. official said. While Islam has spent time studying at U.S. military institutions, and once served as deputy to the ISI, he is a mostly unknown quantity to U.S. officials. The staff change was not anticipated when the January Pasha-Petraeus meeting took place, both U.S. and Pakistani officials said.

The diplomatic furor threatens to halt the CIA's drone program, which in the last eight years, has killed an estimated 2,223 Taliban, al-Qaida and other suspected militants with 289 strikes, peaking at 117 strikes throughout 2010, reducing al-Qaida's manpower, firepower and reach, according to Bill Roggio at the Long War Journal website, which tracks the strikes. U.S. officials say his figures are fairly accurate, though they would not give more precise figures.

The strikes have markedly slowed to only 10 strikes in the opening months of this year, with the last in mid-March, Roggio said. That puts the program on pace for a total of 40-50 strikes for the year, less than the year before.

Roggio says the strikes so far this year seem to back up that report: out of the 10 strikes, two killed high-value targets, and another strike killed three mid-level Taliban leaders, with no large groups reportedly targeted by any of the drone's missiles. In previous years, an average of only 5 percent to 10 percent of targets were deemed high value, with larger numbers of foot soldiers and a much lower percentage of commanders among those hit.

U.S. officials took issue with the interpretation that signature strikes had ceased, adding the "U.S. is conducting, and will continue to conduct, the counterterrorism operations it needs to protect the U.S. and its interests." The CIA offered no official comment.

Other U.S. officials said no such concessions were offered, and insisted US counterterrorism actions continued as before.

In his opening salvo to keep the program going, Petraeus offered to give his Pakistani counterpart advance notice of the strikes, as had been the practice under the Bush administration, which launched far fewer strikes overall against militant targets.

Return to 'Reagan rules'?
The U.S. had stopped giving the Pakistanis advance notice, after multiple incidents of targets escaping, multiple senior U.S. counterterrorist officials say. U.S. intelligence intercepts showed Pakistani officials alerted local tribal leaders of impending action on their territory, and those leaders oftentimes in turn alerted the militants.

Petraeus also outlined how the U.S. had raised the threshold needed to take strikes, requiring his approval more often than in the past, the U.S. official said.

Pakistan's military wants to go back to the "Reagan rules — the way the CIA operated with the ISI against the Soviets" inside Afghanistan, says former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, of the Brookings Institute. "We give them a big check, and they make every decision about how that is spent. Minimal American footprint in country, or involvement in actual fighting the bad guys."

"We cannot trust the ISI to fight this war for us," after finding bin Laden in a Pakistani military town, "showing the ISI was either clueless or complicit," Riedel said.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Officials demand end to CIA drones in Pakistan

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    >>> the way that the american drone war is carried out against al qaeda and other terror of thes there. the result of relations that have been severely strained since the raid that killed bin laden last year. today a parliament commission in islamabad released a list of demands, to end all u.s. drone attacks inside pakistan . a full apology for the u.s. strike that mistakenly killed two dozen pakistani soldiers pack in november. hina rabbani khar joins me from islamabad. thank you for being with us today. these changes we are told are likely to go through. what is the main grievance that pakistan , that your government has, against the u.s. and against the drone war, in particular?

    >> thank you, andrea. you know, first of all, i don't think it's a matter of grievance as much as it is about a matter of building a type of partnership which is lasting, which has the ownership of the people of pakistan , and of course the parliament of pakistan and a partnership which can achieve results which are considered to be in the joint interest of both pakistan and the united states and of course the nato members, which are operating.

    >> and i explained to our viewers we have i satellite delay. we're doing the best we can with that. but we've seen in campaign speeches here in the united states biden and others making a very big deal out of the killing of osama bin laden saying this shows the strength, the wisdom, the determination of this president, of president obama , on foreign policy . how that make you feel in pakistan ?

    >> you know, one thing that you missed in talking about grievances, which i think is an unfavorable word to use, but you misses the incident of november 26 in which to remain your audience pakistan lost 27 of its soldiers to what is considered to be friendly fire , fire coming in from allies. a fire or a death toll, which is still in some ways in many minds of pakistanis, unaccounted for. i would like you to put yourself in those shoes for a moment and think that if 27 body bags were to return to the united states of america and your public was told that they lost their lives because pakistani troops fired on them, what would be the level of hostility in the united states of america ? i'm quite sure very high. this was really the brink of continuing with a relationship or a partnership which was increasingly being seen in pakistan not to be working for pakistan . and i think here in the parliament review, we have a unique opportunity to put things correctly. i think this is a unique opportunity to put things right, the type of opportunity that we haven't seen many times before. what it gives to us in pakistan and to you in the united states of america is an opportunity to put this partnership on a track which is more lasting, which has the ownership of the people. in that what we have to be careful about is that we are married to the end objective of fighting militants, extremism in this part of the world. however, if we are too married or too attached to some tools considers to be violative of pakistan 's territory integrity and the spirit of mapartnership i'm afraid we will not meet the success we need to meet in the future.

    >> i did say that the one of the demand for a pufull apology by the killing of the friendly fire of the soldiers. i did mention that as one of the grievances. but what about bin laden ?

    >>> how do you feel about the american -- about the white house using this as a key point in its campaign for re-election, the killing of bin laden on your soil?

    >> pakistan has repeatedly said that bin laden , osama bin laden was an enemy for pakistan . pakistani military has hunted down more al qaeda operatives than anywhere else in the world. al qaeda is an enemy for pakistan . as i mentioned, a joint approach, a join operation, would have obviously been much more useful to carry on the partnership and to carry on efforts to be able to achieve what i am calling common objectives and i think that is what is important. to look at this as a common objective, look at us moving towards a common goal because at strateg ic plan united states and pakistan agree on what are their goals and objectives. where we have differences, which have become apparent in the fast few months as to what are the tools that should be used to be able to achieve those end objectives. and it is no working without ownership of the people of any country, of any place. you can see that in the united states also when you go to war in a country you have to have ownership of the people of your country to -- because war is costly, as it has been for pakistan . we've had losses colossal, economically close to $60 billion. we've had lossles in terms of human life , 30,000 civilians dead, 10,000 paramilitary and military forces together dead. all of these and loss to pakistan 's society, way of life , has been colossal. now, with that, with those losses, we have to make sure that this is not seen to be our participation in what is considered to be an international effort is not seen to be an effort which is in the unilateral interests of the united states . but it's seen to be an effort which is in the mutual interest of the united states and pakistan . and for that, it is of course extremely important to be able to build that broad ownership that is required for any country to be able to be an effective partner.

    >> hina rabbani khar the foreign minister, pakistan 's foreign minister, thank you for joining us today.


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