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Several CIA spies held in Pak's 'cleansing process'

June 16, 2011 18:34 IST

Pakistan's military has initiated a 'cleansing process' and rounded up several people believed to be working for America's Central Intelligence Agency in a move that indicates serious tension between the two countries.

"The army on Wednesday confirmed media reports that it had made several detentions in connection with the United States raid killing Osama bin Laden and other unspecified incidents under 'a purge', but denied holding any military officer," the Dawn daily reported on Thursday.

"The arrests are part of ongoing cleansing process and are not related to any single incident," an Inter-Services Public Relations spokesman was quoted as saying by the daily, commenting on a New York Times report that said five persons, including an army major, had been arrested on suspicion that they had helped CIA in the hunt for bin Laden.

The spokesman did not clarify what he meant by 'cleansing process' and whether it was about CIA's covert network in the country.

Furthermore, it appears from discussions with army officers that the number of those arrested could be more than five, the daily said.

The Express Tribune daily said Pakistan's security agencies have rounded up several people who are believed to be working for the US' CIA in a move that indicates serious tension between Islamabad and Washington.

The nationwide crackdown against the suspected CIA informants was first launched earlier this year following the arrest of 'American spy' Raymond Davis over the killing of two Pakistanis, an unnamed military official was quoted as saying by the daily.

However, the official said the drive against the 'CIA Spies' accelerated following the death of bin Laden in a top-secret US commando operation last month.

"Yes, I can confirm that several suspects have been arrested in recent months. Some of them have been released after they were cleared by the authorities while others are still being interrogated," he said.

He would not give the exact number of arrests, though some sources put it at 40, the daily said.

The military had on Wednesday, in a short statement, dismissed the New York Times report of arrest of an army Major in connection with the bin Laden raid, saying 'there is no army officer detained and the story is false and totally baseless'.

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