ISI under heat in new US strategy
Dawn, March 27, 2009
WASHINGTON: The United States has vowed to put the heat on Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in its new regional strategy, with top officials openly accusing elements in powerful intelligence agency of abetting al-Qaeda.
President Barack Obama on Friday unveiled a plan to root out extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan by boosting troops and drastically increasing civilian personnel and aid to the region.
Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to the region, said he would visit Pakistan again next week to follow up on the plan. Of all issues, investigating the nuclear-armed nation's spy network 'is the most important,' he said.
'The issue's very disturbing,' Holbrooke told public television's 'Newshour with Jim Lehrer,' when asked if the ISI was assisting al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
'We cannot succeed if the two intelligence agencies are at each others' throat or don't trust each other and if the kind of collusion you referred to is factual,' Holbrooke said.
General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, did not dispute that ISI elements have tipped off extremists to let them escape US-led forces.
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Commentary: Obama anti-terror plan could be doomed to fail - Peter Bergen, CNN