Wednesday, 8 April 2009

"Mehsud has pals in high places"

Baitullah Mehsud, the brazen Taliban chief based in Waziristan, has been able to escape several attempts to kill and capture him because he has friends in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, according to a Newsweek report.

This is no surprise. Pakistan has become notorious for its duplicity and the fact that its intelligence services seem to be in cahoots with the Taliban. For example, a report in the LA Times from July last year provided the following details:

"American spy agencies depend heavily on cooperation from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, elements of which are believed to have long-standing ties to the Taliban. Underscoring the lack of trust, a former high-ranking CIA official said that the United States typically gives the Pakistani government less than an hour’s notice before launching a Predator missile strike, largely out of fear that more time might allow ISI sympathizers to tip off targets. The ISI sometimes shares information from its network of tribal contacts, officials said. But it also routinely stonewalls CIA requests.“They are in many cases intentionally keeping you in the dark,” said the former CIA official who served in the region. The former official described one case in which a CIA agent near Waziristan, in the tribal area, pressed the ISI over several months to detain a Pakistani who appeared to be helping Al Qaeda operatives move safely around the region.“He was a known Al Qaeda associate and facilitator,” the former CIA officer said. “But you bring it up 10 times and they never take the first step of planning anything. It’s like pushing against a marshmallow.”

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