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Published On: Wed, Oct 4th, 2017

Pakistan’s ISI runs its own foreign policy; has connections with terror groups: US

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ranbir-mahira-759WASHINGTON : A top United States military officer has accused Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of having ties with ‘terrorist groups’. “It is clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups,” The Hill quoted Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as saying to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has denied the US’ allegations, which could possibly be the strongest indictment of the support that the Pakistan’s spy agency provides to terrorist groups.India and Afghanistan have also been time and again charging their neighbour Pakistan with similar allegations.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the they should to try one more time to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan and if it fails, President Donald Trump can take whatever steps are necessary to address Islamabad’s alleged support for militant groups. Acknowledging that global terrorism poses a threat to the world, Mattis had recently hit out at countries harbouring terrorists, saying ‘there can be no tolerance of terrorist safe havens’.

In a veiled attack on Pakistan, Mattis, during his two-day visit to India, said,” There can be no tolerance of terror safe havens as global leaders India and the United States resolve to work together to eradicate this scourge.” Trump had recently criticised Pakistan for offering safe haven to “agents of chaos” while announcing US policy on Afghanistan. Pakistan has been criticised many times for having links with the Taliban and for harbouring slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The strong statements on ISI and Pakistan from top officials of the Trump Administration came hours before the Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif landed in Washington on a three-day visit. Asif is scheduled to meet the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the National Security Adviser H R McMaster and address the think-tank community at the US Institute of Peace.

Attending the annual UN General Assembly sessions in New York last week, Asif had slammed United States for being responsible for the rise of terrorist groups in Pakistan. “Don’t blame us for Haqqanis or don’t blame us for the Hafiz Saeeds. These were the people who were your darlings just 20 to 30 years back. They were being dined and wined in the White House and now you say go to hell Pakistanis because you are nurturing these people,” he said during his appearance before the Asia Society in New York.
“We have seen havens left to the terrorists’ own devices. We have seen the government of Pakistan come down on terrorism, while ISI appears to run its own foreign policy,” Mattis said acknowledging for the first time in public domain that ISI runs its own policy and does not seem to be controlled by the federal government.
“I think it’s clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups,” General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff told members of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing. He was responding to a question from Senator Joe Donnelly.

The US had also withheld the disbursement of USD 350 million aid to Pakistan after Mattis informed the Congress that Islamabad has not taken sufficient measures to counter the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network.
(With Agency Inputs ).

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