Washington, July 21 : In the eyes of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is a master manipulator.
A New York Times report says that American officials describe General Kayani "as a smart and urbane general, at once engaging and inscrutable, an avid golfer with occasionally odd affectations."
At meetings, he is known to spend several minutes carefully hand-rolling a cigarette, and after taking one puff, stubs it out.
Most CIA veterans agree that relations between CIA and Pakistan's ISI is like a bad marriage, in which both spouses have long stopped trusting each other but would never think of breaking up because they have become so mutually dependent.
The article in the New York Times Sunday edition admits that without the ISI's help, American spies in Pakistan would be incapable of carrying out their primary mission in the country of hunting militants, including top members of Al Qaeda.
And, without the millions of covert American dollars sent annually to Pakistan, the ISI would have trouble competing with Indian spies.
Inside Pakistan, America's primary interest is to dismantle a Taliban and Al Qaeda safe haven in the mountainous tribal lands.
The report notes that even the powerful ISI has difficulties collecting information in the tribal lands, the home of fiercely independent Pashtun tribes.