ISI helped Mullah Omar get treated in Karachi: report

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 19 (PTI) Elusive Taliban leader MullahOmar, one of the world''s most wanted terrorists, was treatedin a Karachi hospital with the help of Pakistan''s spy agencyISI after he suffered a heart attack, a private intelligenceagency has claimed.

First reported by The Washington Post on its onlineedition, the claim by Eclipse Group, however, was immediatelyrefuted by Pakistan.

Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, saidthe report had "no basis whatsoever."

There was no immediate confirmation of the reportfrom the US officials.

In its report, Eclipse Group, which is run by formerCIA, State Department and military officers, said the one-eyedleader of Afghan Taliban suffered a heart attack on January 7,following which he was treated in a Karachi hospital with thehelp of Inter Services Intelligence.

The Eclipse Group said that its source of informationis a physicians in the said Karachi hospital.

"While I was not personally in the operating theater,"the physician reported, "my evaluation based on what I haveheard and seeing the patient in the hospital is that MullahOmar had a cardiac catheter complication resulting in eitherbleeding or a small cerebral vascular incident, or both."

The Eclipse reported that ISI rushed him to a hospitalin Karachi, where he was given heparin (an anticoagulant) andoperated on.

"After 3-4 days of post-operative care in thehospital, he was released to the ISI and ordered to takeabsolute bed rest when at home for at least several days."

The physician who was the source for the report saidthat, "After the operation, there seemed to be some braindamage with Mullah Omar having slurred speech."

"His post hospital course is consistent with this typeof outcome," the physician added.

"Three-four days in hospital is consistent withcardiac catheterization and or cardiac stent placement. Bedrest and aphasia [difficulty speaking] post-catheterizationcould be from a bleeding complication."

However, Husain Haqqani asserted that the Pakistaniintelligence, military and law enforcement personnel continueto hunt down wanted Al-Qaeda and Taliban figures and willapprehend anyone if and when we have hard intelligence, whichis very different from speculation circulated by contractors.

"Sometimes intelligence tips received by professionalsturn out to be wrong. The story about Mullah Omar falls underthat category. You might recall a similar story from 2001about Osama bin Laden receiving dialysis treatment that turnedout to be incorrect, and the fabrication of those who wantedto give Pakistan a bad name," Haqqani was quoted as saying byThe Washington Post.

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