A former CIA operative who served President Barack Obama as a top aide on Afghanistan and Pakistan says he is convinced Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency is behind the Pathankot attack.
Bruce Riedel, who works for a DC think tank, made the assertion in an article for The Daily Beast news publication, citing press reports and knowledgeable sources.
“I’m very confident in my data,” he told HT when asked if he was able to independently corroborate the ISI-link put out by Indian experts soon after first reports of the attack.
The attack was carried out, Riedel wrote, “to prevent any detente between India and Pakistan after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise Christmas Day visit to Pakistan”.
Pakistan Army remains hostile to detente with India, which, Riedel argued, will mitigate its hold over the country’s national security policy, and used Jaish-e-Mohammed, through the ISI, to derail talks.
The attack on the Indian mission in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan around the same time was carried out by the same ISI-JeM network with the same intention to impede peace talks.
JeM was founded in 2000 by top Pakistani terrorist Masood Azhar after he was freed from an Indian prison in exchange for passengers of a hijacked Indian airliner.
Azhar returned to Pakistan a hero. Riedel wrote “the ISI took him on a public victory tour through Pakistan to raise money for the jihad against India”. JeM carried out the audacious attack on India’s parliament in 2001. Azhar kept a low profile for a long time after that and resurfaced in 2014 to call for attacks on India and the US.