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ISI 'closest collaborators' of US: Pak envoy

world Updated: Oct 04, 2010 00:15 IST
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The Obama administration depends on Islamabad in its war against terrorism and the Pakistani spy agency ISI is one of its "closest collaborators," despite it being "maligned a lot in the media," Pakistan's ambassador in Washington said on Sunday.

"Pakistan is an American ally. America depends on Pakistan. We can't and do not do everything that the Americans think we should do because sometimes we don't have the capacity, sometimes we don't have the means," Hussein Haqqani said.

"We work those things out, and that is exactly what we are doing right now," he said

Haqqani claimed that the powerful Pakistani spy agency is co-operating fully with the CIA in its war against terrorism, despite that it has been maligned much in the west.

"Even though the ISI is maligned a lot in the media, the fact remains that it is one of the closest collaborators, partners, and allies of U.S. intelligence," Haqqani told the CNN in an interview.

He referred to the latest unearthing of plot by the CIA and European intelligence agencies that eight Germans, two British brothers, who are hiding out in northern Waziristan as part of the plan to launch a Mumbai-type attack in European cities.

"In this particular instance, the United States is very happy, I can say this on your show, that American officials have told us that the quality of cooperation they have received from the ISI is really 100 percent," he said.

The top envoy said Pakistan will take action against extremists at its own pace and will, whose time line can't be dictated by the west.

"We will target them with American help, but it will be technical help. It will not be personnel on ground," Haqqani said.

Noting that the local situation in Pakistan is that the US is not very popular amongst its public, Haqqani asserted that an elected democratic government in Pakistan is limited by public opinion to the extent of what it can do.

He said it was not "a question of unwilling or unable", but a question of terrain, of geography.

"Sometimes people in the United States think about Pakistan and they think that it's all flat land with everything visible. Even the drones cannot identify everyone in north Waziristan because of the complexity of terrain," Haqqani said.

"What is going on right now is that Pakistan is saying, we will take care of our terrorists on the Pakistani side of the border, but we will do it on our time line," he said.

"We can't always follow a time line that our allies set for us, because we are allies, not a satellite," Haqqani underlined.