Elements in ISI supporting terrorism: Pentagon

The Pentagon has conceded that some elements of Pakistan`s ISI is supporting the terrorist networks in the country.

Washington: The Pentagon has conceded that some elements of Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence is supporting the terrorist networks in the country, thus undermining the war against terrorism by the US-led international forces in the region.

It is for the first time probably, Pentagon, which often is accused of shielding the Pakistan army and the ISI, acknowledged that the latter has links with terrorist networks, which is a matter of serious concern for the US.

Pentagon spokesman Col David Lapan, told reporters that some members of the ISI "might be interacting with terrorist organisations in ways that aren`t consistent with what the government and military are doing."

The spokesman was responding to questions about a news report in The Wall Street Journal which said that ISI is asking and assisting Taliban against NATO and US forces in Afghanistan.

Noting that ISI as an organisation does not support terrorism, Lapan said some elements within the intelligence agency are providing assistance to terrorists.

US officials have raised concerns about whether some members of the ISI "might be interacting with terrorist organisations in ways that aren`t consistent with what the
government and military are doing," he said.

Observing that the top Pakistan military leadership is working to correct the problem, he said, but like any large organisation, change is difficult and comes slowly.

"The ISI has done a great deal in fighting terrorism. Some have said they probably have killed more terrorists than any other organisation. But we also have some concerns with
the strategic focus of the ISI," Lapan said, adding that Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is aware of these concern and shares it.

"Our optimism is that Gen Kayani understands and has made it clear that they need to make some changes," he said.

The Pentagon spokesman said there is no word from Pakistan yet as to when the Torkham Gate would be reopened, which is an important supply line for NATO and US troops in Afghanistan.

The crucial supply line was closed by Pakistani officials in the aftermath of death of two Pakistani soldiers in NATO air on September 30 on the Af-Pak border. The US yesterday
apologised for the incident.
Lapan acknowledged that the closure of supply line has increased security threat to hundreds of trucks waiting to cross the border, as it was very much evident in increasing
number of Taliban attacks on these Afghanistan-bound trucks.
"The Pakistanis understand that we would like to see these gates open as soon as possible. We also understand that ultimately it is their decision, they take the security
situation into consideration," he said.

The Pentagon in the meantime is looking at alternative means till the gate does open. "Pakistan is a friend and an ally of the United States," the spokesman said.

PTI

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