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Snap all ties with extremists: Lieberman to ISI

A powerful US Senator has asked the Pakistani leadership to match the American aid with political will and commitment and at the same time warned the ISI to cut all its ties, if any, with the extremist groups.

world Updated: May 14, 2009 11:09 IST

A powerful US Senator has asked the Pakistani leadership to match the American aid with political will and commitment and at the same time warned the ISI to cut all its ties, if any, with the extremist groups.

Observing the events of the last few weeks must be a wake-up call to the Pakistani security establishment, Senator Joseph Lieberman, said: "It is past time that the Pakistan Army and the ISI, in particular, recognise that it is regional Islamist extremist groups that pose the real existential threat to the survival of their country."

Lieberman is the Chairman of the powerful Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In the past he has been seeking accountability and conditional aid to Pakistan.

The Obama Administration has proposed to triple the non-military aid to Pakistan, while significantly increase the military aid to its army including USD 1.1 billion to enhance its counterinsurgency capabilities. "Over the last 30 years, unfortunately, elements of the Pakistani security establishment have grown accustomed to seeing these extremist groups not as enemies of the State that must be decisively defeated, but as potential instruments of the State that can be managed and controlled," he said in his major foreign policy speech on Tuesday at a conference hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


"That strategic outlook is a terrible mistake and must be rejected -- not as a favour to the United States, but because tolerating or maintaining linkages to these extremist groups no longer advances Pakistan's own vital national interests," Lieberman said.

"On the contrary, it jeopardizes them. Far from helping Pakistan to protect itself or secure strategic depth beyond its borders, they are instead making Pakistan less safe and eroding the Pakistani government's control of its own territory," he said.

"Some people say that the ISI has been reluctant to break its historic ties with regional extremist groups like the Afghan Taliban, because it doubts America's staying power in Afghanistan, and consequently believes that Pakistan will one day need the Taliban as a proxy force to pursue its interests there, after the US leaves," he added.