`Davis had close links with Taliban`

US diplomat Raymond Davis was instrumental in recruiting youths for the Taliban, claims a report.

Last Updated: Feb 22, 2011, 14:53 PM IST

Islamabad: American official Raymond Davis,
arrested in the Pakistani city of Lahore for gunning down two armed men, had "close links" with the Taliban and was "instrumental" in recruiting youths for the militant group, a
media report here said Tuesday.

The claim about his links to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
was made to `The Express Tribune` newspaper by unnamed police
officials in Punjab province, a day after US media reported
that Davis was working for the CIA as a security contractor.

"The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our
security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding
terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab," a
senior official of Punjab Police was quoted as saying by the
daily.

"His close ties with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan were
revealed during the investigations... Davis was instrumental
in recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban to fuel
the bloody insurgency," the official was quoted as saying.

Call records retrieved from mobile phones found on Davis
had allegedly established his links with 33 Pakistanis,
including 27 militants from the banned Taliban and
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, sources were quoted as saying by the
newspaper.

The report claimed Davis was "said to be working on a
plan to give credence to the American notion that Pakistan`s
nuclear weapons are not safe."

It added: "For this purpose, he was setting up a group of
the Taliban which would do his bidding."

Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had cut a secret
deal with the US in 2006 to allow clandestine CIA operations
in Pakistan, the daily reported.

However, "the government and security agencies were
surprised to know that Davis and some of his colleagues were
involved in activities that were not spelt out in the
agreement," a source told the newspaper.

Davis` job was to trace the links of the Taliban and al-
Qaeda in different parts of Pakistan but instead investigators
found that he had developed "close links" with the Taliban,
the source claimed.

Investigators recovered 158 items from Davis, including a
9mm Glock pistol, 75 bullets, a GPS device, an infrared torch,
a wireless set, two mobile phones, a digital camera, a
survival kit, five ATM cards and Pakistani and US currency.
The camera had photographs of Pakistani defence
installations.

Intelligence officials claimed these items proved that
Davis was involved in "activities detrimental to Pakistan`s
national interests."

Davis was arrested in Lahore on January 27 after he shot
and killed two armed men he claimed were trying to rob him.

American newspapers lifted a self-imposed gag on Davis`
CIA links yesterday.

The New York Times, citing American government officials,
reported that Davis "was part of a covert, CIA-led team of
operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups deep
inside the country."

Among the groups that Davis was keeping an eye on was the
banned Lashker-e-Taiba, which carried out the 2008 Mumbai
terror attacks, The New York Times reported.

The US had earlier described Davis as a member of the
"technical and administrative staff" of its embassy in
Pakistan.

Pakistani leaders, fearful of a public backlash, have
turned down repeated US demands for Davis to be freed on
grounds of diplomatic immunity and insisted that his case will
be decided by the courts according to the country`s laws.

PTI