US confronts Pak with proof of ISI terror links
Washington: The US confronted Pakistan with "concrete evidences" of links between the ISI and extremist organisations like the Haqqani network and LeT, before it launced a frontal attack on the spy agency for its terror ties, Pentagon officials have said.
"They (ISI) provide financial support (to extremist organisations). It provides technical support. It provides physical support. They (Pak officials) are allowing the safe heavens to operate," a defence official told PTI on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Another defence department official said that Pentagon has been providing such evidences to Pakistan "since ages" but it is only after the recent attack on a hotel in Kabul and the US Embassy in Kabul that this crossed all limits and the Defence Department decided to go public.
But the senior defence official maintained that these evidences gives concrete proof of the relationship between ISI and the extremist organisations including Haqqani network and LeT.
The senior defence official familiar with it refused from giving further details of the type of evidences that the US has provided to Pakistan, based on which Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a key Congressional committee, last week that the Haqqani network "acts as a veritable arm" of Pakistan`s ISI.
Officials said Mullen shared his thoughts and text of his remarks with Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, before he went to make such a strong comment against Pakistan in a public hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"The Haqqani Network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.
With ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"We also have credible intelligence that they were behind the June 28th attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations," he told lawmakers last week.
Captain John Kirby, spokesperson of Admiral Mike Mullen, said that the Chairman stands by his statement as he believes that all that he said is nothing but truth.
"Over the course of the last few years we have shared with the Pakistani leaders the indications that we have about this short of complicity (with extremist organizations in the region including the Haqqani network," Kirby said.
"I am not going to get into now the specifics of all that. But that information has been shared with Pakistan," Kirby said adding that Mullen and the Pentagon stands by everything the Admiral said at a Congressional briefing last week in which he alleged that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan provides supports to the Haqqani network.
"We provided in the past examples of how we know this complicity continues to exist," Kirby said.