No ISI safe haven for Mullah Omar: Official

Last Updated: Monday, September 28, 2009 - 18:19

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency has categorically rejected a report saying that it was providing a safe haven to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, describing it as a "propaganda blitz against an institution which has played pivotal role in the eradication of terrorism".
The report was "ill motivated and sheer mudslinging", a senior ISI official told Online news agency.

"ISI works within a set framework and any question of providing haven to Mullah Omar or the Taliban leadership stands ruled out.”

"The officers and other staff members of ISI had not only rendered sacrifices of their lives in fight against terrorism but also had played more vital role in curbing menace of terrorism than any other country of the world," the official added.

He also maintained that the ISI had achieved "tangible successes" against terrorists, including the Taliban and al Qaeda in collaboration with other security agencies.

The New York Times had reported last week that Taliban leaders, aided by the ISI, were using their sanctuary in Pakistan to stoke a widening campaign of violence in northern and western Afghanistan.

The Taliban`s leadership council, led by Mullah Omar and operating around the southern Pakistani city of Quetta, was directly responsible for a wave of violence in once relatively placid parts of northern and western Afghanistan, the influential US daily said citing unnamed senior American military and intelligence officials.

It cited American officials as saying they believe that the Taliban leadership in Pakistan still gets support from parts of the ISI.

The ISI has been the Taliban`s off-again-on-again benefactor for more than a decade, and some of its senior officials see Mullah Omar as a valuable asset should the US leave Afghanistan and the Taliban regain power.

The issue of the Taliban leadership council, or shura, in Quetta is now at the top of the Obama administration`s agenda in its meetings with Pakistani officials.

IANS



First Published: Monday, September 28, 2009 - 18:19

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