CIA establishes ISI's links with militants having close ties with Qaeda

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Washington, July 30 : Within a week of the July 7 suicide attack on Indian embassy in Kabul killing more than 50 persons, including four Indian staffers, and which was directly blamed on Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI by Afghan government, the deputy director of the US intelligence agency CIA Stephen R. Kappes made a secret visit to Islamabad to caution its officials that ISI was having links with militants.

According to an American official, Kappes' visit to Islamabad was organised to convey a warning message to Islamabad to do more to deal with the links between the ISI and the militants, particularly the militant network Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, which American officials believe, maintains close ties to senior figures of Al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas.

According to the New York Times, the CIA emissary presented evidence before the Pakistani officials showing that members of the spy agency had deepened their ties with some militant groups that were responsible for a surge of violence in Afghanistan.

The visit is being seen as the bluntest American warning to Pakistan since shortly after the 9/11 air attacks about the ties between the spy service and Islamic militants.

The CIA assessment specifically points to links between ISI sleuths and militants network in FATA, added a report in the paper.

American military and intelligence officials welcomed the decision by the CIA to take a harder line toward the ISI's dealings with militant groups. "It was a very pointed message saying, 'Look, we know there's a connection, not just with Haqqani but also with other bad guys and ISI, and we think you could do more and we want you to do more about it,'" one senior American official said of the message to Pakistan.

One American counterterrorism official said there was no evidence of Pakistan's government's direct support of Al Qaeda. He, however, said there were "genuine and longstanding concerns about Pakistan's ties to the Haqqani network, which of course has links to Al Qaeda."

According to the paper, American commanders in Afghanistan have in recent months sounded an increasingly shrill alarm about the threat posed by Haqqani's network. Earlier this year, American military officials pressed the American ambassador in Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson, to get Pakistani troops to strike Haqqani network targets in the tribal areas.

ANI

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