US classified Afghan War document leaks underscore deep suspicions about ISI role

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Washington, July 27 (ANI): Some leading Democrats have warned that the disclosure of a six-year archive of classified military documents by the WikiLeaks.org website underscores deep suspicions that they have harbored towards Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

"Some of these documents reinforce a longstanding concern of mine about the supporting role of some Pakistani officials in the Afghan insurgency," said Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who heads the Armed Services Committee.

During a visit to Pakistan this month, Senator Levin, who has largely supported the war, said he confronted senior Pakistani leaders about the ISI's continuing ties to militant groups.

According to the New York Times, several administration officials have privately expressed hope that they might be able to use the leaks, and their description of a sometimes duplicitous Pakistani ally, to pressure Pakistan to cooperate more fully with the United States on counter-terrorism.

The documents seem to reveal rich new details of connections between the Taliban and other militant groups and the ISI.

"This is now out in the open. It's reality now. In some ways, it makes it easier for us to tell the Pakistanis that they have to help us," an Obama administration official was quoted, as saying.ut much of the pushback from the White House over the past two days has been to stress that the connection between the ISI and the Taliban was well known.

"I don't think that what is being reported hasn't in many ways been publicly discussed, either by you all or by representatives of the U.S. government, for quite some time," said President Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs during a briefing on Monday.

Gibbs was speaking as the White House sought to reassert control over the public debate on the Afghanistan war on Monday.

Massachusetts Democrat Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry said: "Those policies are at a critical stage, and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent."

Administration officials have acknowledged that the documents, released on the Internet by WikiLeaks, will make it harder for Obama to win both public and Congressional support for his ongoing war effort in Afghanistan.

"We don't know how to react. This obviously puts Congress and the public in a bad mood," the NYT quoted a frustrated administration official, as saying.

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has defended the release of the documents.

"I'd like to see this material taken seriously and investigated, and new policies, if not prosecutions, result from it," he said.

A senior ISI official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, sharply condemned the reports as "part of the malicious campaign to malign the spy organization" and said the ISI would "continue to eradicate the menace of terrorism with or without the help of the West."

Farhatullah Babar, the spokesman for President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, dismissed the reports and said that Pakistan remained "a part of a strategic alliance of the United States in the fight against terrorism." (ANI)

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