`US considers Pak`s ISI as terrorist outfit`

US authorities consider Pakistan`s ISI as much of a threat as al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2011, 19:38 PM IST

London: US authorities have described
Pakistan`s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency as a terrorist organisation and considered it as much of a threat
as al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Recommendations to interrogators at Guantanamo Bay
rank the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate alongside
al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon as threats, `The
Guardian` reported quoting secret US files obtained by it.

"Being linked to any of these groups is an indication
of terrorist or insurgent activity," the documents dated
September 2007 said.

"Through associations with these...organisations, a
detainee may have provided support to al Qaeda or the Taliban,
or engaged in hostilities against US or coalition forces (in
Afghanistan)," the document said.

The fresh revelation on ISI links with terror groups,
The Guardian said, comes on the heels of its own "published evidence" that US intelligence services had been receiving reports of ISI support for the Taliban in Afghanistan for many
years.
In the Threat Indicator Matrix in the new document,
the ISI is listed among 36 groups including Egyptian Islamic
Jihad, led by al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, the
Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs; the Iranian
intelligence services, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Though the document dates from 2007 it is unlikely the
ISI has been removed from the current Threat Indicator Matrix,
the report said.
In classified memos outlining the background of 700
prisoners at Guantanamo there are scores of references,
apparently based on intelligence reporting, to the ISI
supporting, co-ordinating and protecting insurgents fighting
coalition forces in Afghanistan, or even assisting al Qaeda.

Pakistani authorities have consistently denied any links with
insurgents in Afghanistan or al Qaeda.

The revelation that the ISI is considered as much of a
threat as al Qaeda and the Taliban will cause fury in Pakistan, it said.
"It will further damage the already poor relationship
between US intelligence services and their Pakistani
counterparts, supposedly key allies in the hunt for Osama bin
Laden and other Islamist militants in south Asia," the
newspaper said.

The details of the alleged ISI support for insurgents
at the very least give an important insight into the thinking
of American strategists and senior decision-makers.

Many documents refer to alleged ISI activities in 2002
or 2003, long before the policy shift in 2007 that saw the
Bush administration become much more critical of the Pakistani
security establishment.

One example is found among reasons given by Guantanamo
officials for the continued detention of Harun Shirzad
al-Afghani, a veteran militant who arrived there in June 2007.

His file states he is believed to have attended a
meeting in August 2006 at which Pakistani military and
intelligence officials joined senior figures in the Taliban,
al Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Taeba group responsible for the 2008
attack in Mumbai and the Hezb-e-Islami group led by Gulbuddin
Hekmatyar.

According to the report, Harun Shirzad al-Afghani was
reported to have told his interrogators that in 2006 an
unidentified Pakistani ISI officer paid Rs 1 million to a
militant to transport ammunition to a depot within Afghanistan
jointly run by al Qaeda, the Taliban and Hekmatyar`s faction.

A separate document about a 42-year-old Afghan
detainee cites intelligence reports claiming that in early
2007 Pakistani officials were present at a meeting chaired by
Mullah Mohammed Omar, the supreme chief of the Taliban, of an
array of senior insurgents in Quetta, the Pakistani city where
it has long been believed the Taliban leadership are based.

"The meeting included high-level Taliban leaders...
(and) representatives from the Pakistani government and the
Inter-Services Inteligence Directorate," the document said.

At the meeting "Mullah Omar told the attendees that
they should not co-operate with the new infidel government (in
Afghanistan) and should keep attacking coalition forces.

PTI