ISI supports, encourages terrorist outfits: Pentagon

Pakistan`s spy agency ISI not only supports but also encourages terrorist outfits, particularly the Haqqani militant network, the US said.

Washington: Pakistan`s spy agency ISI not
only supports but also encourages terrorist outfits,
particularly the Haqqani militant network, the US said on Friday,
underlining that it expected the Pakistani leadership to snap
these ties.

"All I can tell you that we are confident that the ISI
continues to support and even encourage the Haqqanis to launch
these attacks. I am not going into specifics of the
intelligence that we have about the support," Captain John
Kirby, spokesperson of Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Pentagon reporters during an
off-camera interaction.

When asked about the denial being issued by the
Pakistani leadership on the allegations, Kirby said that he
and the Chairman stand by those comments.

"The chairman stands by what he testified before the US
Senate," he said.

Mullen told lawmakers yesterday that the Haqqani network,
"acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan`s internal services
intelligence agency."

"With ISI support, the Haqqani operatives planned and
conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on
our embassy. We also have credible intelligence that they were
behind the June 28th attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in
Kabul and a host of other smaller, but effective operations,
Mullen said on the Capitol Hill.

Kirby said the the Chairman made it very clear yesterday.
"He used Haqqani as an example. If you look at his statements
that there are other extremist groups such as the Queta Shoura
that has the ISI support, the spokesperson of Mullen said.

When asked if the US is considering the option of
declaring ISI itself as a terrorist outfit now that it has the
evidence of its links, Kirby responded: "I am not going to go
further than what he (Mullen) said".

Kirby said Mullen did not make any characterization but
indicated that the US aid to Pakistan would be conditioned in
its support and progress made in the war against terrorism.

He said aid assistance to Pakistan will be based on the
the level to which "Pakistani government is to assist in the
war against terrorism".

He made it clear that while Mullen wants to pursue his
relationship with the Pakistani military and the ISI by
extension, there was the for Pakistan to do more as partners
in this fight.

"They know and we made it clear that aid and assistance
is depended upon the degree to which those efforts continue,?
Kirby said, but added that he was not aware of any deadline in
this regard.

The spokesperson of Mullen said the US was assessing the
aid assistance to Pakistan.

When asked whether the US military aid directly or
indirectly supported the attack on the US Embassy in Kabul, he
said it was for the ISI to answer.

"We believe that they (ISI) are supporting indirectly
and directly (to the Haqqani network). That is as far as I can
go at this point of time," he said.

He said the US administration has made it "very very
clear the sense of urgency" over the issue and the Pakistani
leadership is "very aware of our concerns".

Mullen, he said has met the Pakistan Army Chief General
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at least 30 times to improve
relationships with Pakistan.

"When he has felt strongly enough that the partnership
that we were trying to build with Pakistan was not conducive
to those ends, he made it clear both publicly and privately
to General Kayani," Mullen`s spokesperson said.

He said the decision to "speak publicly" on the issue has
been a deliberate decision "because he felt that strongly
about the issue".

Kirby said there has been a long standing historical
relationship between the ISI and the extremist groups.

"There has been a lot of activity over the course of this
summer the hotel attack in Kabul, Wardak truck bomb, attack
on the Embassy and others smaller level operations," he noted,
adding "It has gone worse."

The activities of the Haqqani network "have become more
brazen, more aggressive and more lethal," he said, adding
"information has become more available that these attacks have
been supported or encouraged by the ISI."

Kirby said Mullen, who held talks with General Kayani
last week in Spain, decided to "speak publicly" on the issue
because "this is the truth".


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