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Us Indicts ISI in Indian Embassy Attack

Us Indicts ISI in Indian Embassy Attack

Author: Mark Mazzetti & Eric Schmitt
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 2, 2008

Introduction: Intercepted Communications Show Pakistani Spies and Militants Plotting July 7 Attack: Officials

US intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan's powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India's embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to US government officials.

The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining US efforts to combat militants in the region.

The US officials also said there was new information showing that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were increasingly providing militants with details about the US campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid US missile strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Concerns about the role played by Pakistani intelligence not only has strained relations between the US and Pakistan, a long-time ally, but also has fanned tensions between Pakistan and its archrival, India. Within days of the bombings, Indian officials accused the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, of helping to orchestrate the attack in Kabul, which killed 54, including an Indian defence attaché.

The New York Times reported this week that a top CIA official travelled to Pakistan in July to confront senior Pakistani officials with information about support provided by members of the ISI to militant groups. It had not been known that US intelligence agencies concluded that elements of Pakistani intelligence provided direct support for the attack in Kabul.

US officials said that the communications were intercepted before the July 7 bombing, and that the CIA emissary, Stephen R Kappes, the agency's deputy director, had been ordered to Islamabad, even before the attack. The intercepts were not detailed enough to warn of any specific attack.

The government officials were guarded in describing the new evidence and would not say specifically what kind of assistance the ISI officers provided to the militants. They said that the ISI officers had not been renegades, indicating that their actions might have been authorized by superiors.

"It confirmed some suspicions that I think were widely held," one State Department official with knowledge of Afghanistan issues said of the intercepted communications. "It was sort of this 'aha' moment. There was a sense that there was finally direct proof."

The information linking the ISI to the bombing of the Indian Embassy was described in interviews by several US officials with knowledge of the intelligence. Some of the officials expressed anger that elements of Pakistan's government seemed to be directly aiding violence in Afghanistan that had included attacks on US troops.

Some US officials have begun to suggest that Pakistan is no longer a fully reliable American partner and to advocate some unilateral US action against militants based in the tribal areas.

The ISI has long maintained ties to militant groups in the tribal areas, in part to court allies it can use to contain Afghanistan's power. In recent years, Pakistan's government has also been concerned about India's growing influence inside Afghanistan, including New Delhi's close ties to the government of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president.

US officials say they believe that the embassy attack was probably carried out by members of a network led by Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, whose alliance with Al Qaida and its affiliates has allowed the terrorist network to rebuild in the tribal areas.


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