WASHINGTON - The US Central Intelligence Agency helped arrange back-channel intelligence exchanges between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai attacks in order to avoid conflict between the two nations, The Washington Post reported Monday. Citing unnamed US and foreign government sources, the newspaper said the exchanges, which began days after the attacks in late November, gradually helped the two sides overcome mutual suspicions and paved the way for Islamabad's announcement last week acknowledging that some of the planning for the attack had occurred on Pakistani soil. Due to the CIA 's effort the two countries quietly shared highly sensitive intelligence while the Americans served as neutral arbiters, they said. The exchanges included sophisticated communications intercepts and an array of physical evidence detailing how the 10 Mumbai gunmen and their supporters planned and executed their three-day killing spree in the Indian port city, the report said. Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies separately shared their findings with the CIA , which vetted the intelligence and filled in blanks with its own information, said The Post. The Paper said the arrangement was ongoing, and it was unknown whether it would continue after the Mumbai case is settled. Officials from both countries, according to the Paper, said the unparalleled cooperation was a factor in Pakistan 's decision to bring criminal charges against nine Pakistanis accused of involvement in the attack, a move that appeared to signal a thawing of tensions on the Indian subcontinent after weeks of rhetorical warfare. "India shared evidence bilaterally, but that's not what cinched it," a senior Pakistani official familiar with the exchanges was quoted as saying. "It was the details, shared between intelligence agencies, with the CIA serving mainly as a bridge." The FBI also participated in the vetting process, he said. A US government official with detailed knowledge of the sharing arrangement said the effort ultimately enabled the Pakistani side to "deal as forthrightly as possible with the fallout from Mumbai," he said. US and Pakistani officials who described the arrangement agreed to do so on the condition of anonymity, citing diplomatic and legal sensitivities. Indian officials declined to comment for this story. "Intelligence has been a good bridge," the US official said. "Everyone on the American side went into this with their eyes open, aware of the history, the complexities, the tensions. But at least the two countries are talking, not shooting." Agencies add: The US effort to foster cooperation was begun under the Bush administration and given new emphasis by an Obama White House that fears that a renewed India-Pakistan conflict could undermine progress in Afghanistan - and possibly lead to nuclear war. The new administration sees Pakistan as central to its evolving Afghan war strategy, and also recognizes that it cannot "do Pakistan without doing India ," as Adm Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put it in a recent interview. "In an ideal world, the challenge associated with Mumbai - handled well, led well " would lead to the two working together," he said. There is little public support for rapprochement, and domestic politics in both countries often dictate hostility rather than cooperation. Mullen said he hoped the countries could restore some of the goodwill lost in the Mumbai case. Despite public and political criticism, the two governments had taken "significant steps" in the months preceding Mumbai to diminish the tensions between them over the long-standing Kashmir dispute. But after Nov 26, "a lot was put aside [and] suspended." In recent days, Pakistan has moved aggressively against Lashkar-i-Taiba and allied groups, and has signalled its intention to work more closely with India . A Pakistani government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, insisted that Islamabad's commitment was genuine. "Any Pakistanis who are shown to have been involved will be treated as the criminals they are," he said. He predicted that the two governments would cooperate to an unprecedented degree in upcoming prosecutions and trials, which he said will occur separately in the two countries with participation from both sides. He described Pakistan 's response as decisive and "proof that we will not tolerate" groups that support terrorism. India , meanwhile, has been eager for the US to pressure Pakistan on terrorism in general and Mumbai in particular. But it has long rejected any attempt to interfere in Kashmir.