London: US authorities have described Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency as a terrorist organisation adding that it as much of a threat as al-Qaeda and the Taliban. (Agencies)
Recommendations to interrogators at Guantanamo Bay rank the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate alongside al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon as threats, a daily reported.
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-Qaida 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-Qaida. Pakistani authorities have consistently denied any links with insurgents in Afghanistan or al-Qaida.
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.
The details of the supposed 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 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 is based.
London: US authorities have described Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency as a terrorist organisation adding that it as much of a threat as al-Qaeda and the Taliban.