Pak Govt failing to rein in ISI: US official
A senior US official has said that Pak's new government has failed to rein in spy agency ISI, whose activities were always "ambiguous" and have now become even more explicit because of "lack of supervision".world Updated: Aug 21, 2008 17:15 IST
A senior US official has said that Pakistan's new government has failed to rein in spy agency ISI, whose activities were always "ambiguous" and have now become even more explicit because of "lack of supervision".
Pakistan's new government has failed to prevent the country's intelligence agency from aiding terrorist attacks and supporting the Taliban, a state department official told the Financial Times, on condition of anonymity.
He added that Pakistan needs to speed up efforts to control the Inter Services Intelligence after the exit of Pervez Musharraf from the country's political arena.
"The position of the ISI has always been ambiguous [but] they may have been more directly involved in actions in more recent months because of lack of supervision," the official said, referring to "a lot of allegations" that the agency was involved in the July 7 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul.
The Indian embassy attack, along with persistent US intelligence reports that al-Qaeda has established its position in "safe havens" of the restive northwest Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, has deepened Washington's doubts about prospects for military and intelligence co-operation, he said.
Western diplomats also say that Pakistani officials were confronted with "credible evidence" documenting the ISI's role in supporting extremist groups, a charge that has been denied by Islamabad, the Financial Times said.
US officials were also dismayed last month by the failure of Pakistan interior ministry's bid to bring the intelligence agency under its direct control, it said.
"There is a lot of pressure building up on Pakistan to take full charge of the ISI. Rightly or wrongly, people from the outside think the ISI is the source of all their problems, a former Pakistani diplomat Tariq Fatemi told the newspaper.
Senior Pakistani government officials familiar with security issues said Musharraf's departure had created an opportunity to order high-level personnel changes in the agency.
The US state department official also said that the departure of the ex-military ruler was "an opportunity to focus on serious issues".
"There are signs of lining ISI more directly up in terms of going after the terrorist problem and not being so schizophrenic in terms of how they deal with terrorism," he said, citing the recent Pakistani operations in the militant-infested tribal areas as "signs of more resolute action against terrorism".