'UK-ISI rift will be bad news for Britain's security'

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London, Aug 1(ANI): British crime journalist Con Coughlin reckons that any rift between the United Kingdom and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency will be a bad news for the country's security.

Coughlin's comments come after ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha canceled his UK trip due to British Prime Minister David Cameron's remarks about Pakistan's role in promoting the "export of terror". During the trip, the ISI chief was to hold meetings with his intelligence counterparts.

"Pakistani cooperation is fundamental to the protection of British interests, whether it is preventing Taliban attacks against British forces based in southern Afghanistan or foiling Islamist terror plots against the British mainland," Coughlin wrote in his article for the Telegraph.

"While government officials in Islamabad insist this will not affect the long-standing intelligence-sharing relationship between the two countries, any rift could have potentially disastrous implications for British security," he added.

Highlighting, the July 7, 2005, suicide bomb attacks on London, which killed 52 people and injured 700, Coughlin said that Britain has not suffered a repeat attack due to the increased level of cooperation between the officials of both the countries.

"Increased level of cooperation between British and Pakistani officials has enabled British counter-terrorism officers to foil a number of major plots by Pakistan-based terror cells, including the 2006 attempt to blow up a number of transatlantic flights flying out of Heathrow," Coughlin said.

"British security officials estimate that there are currently around 2,000 Islamist activists linked to terror activity in Britain, and many of them have close ties to Pakistan. The risk now is that any rift with Pakistan's intelligence services might enable them launch a successful terror attack in Britain," he added. (ANI)

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