WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top Central Intelligence Agency official travelled to Islamabad and confronted senior officials with evidence of ties between Pakistan’s spy agency and militants operating in that country’s tribal areas, the New York Times reported in Wednesday editions.
The CIA envoy presented information linking members of Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) with some militant groups responsible for a string of attacks including the suicide bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul this month which killed 58 people, the newspaper said.
The report, based on accounts by U.S. military and intelligence officials, described the decision to confront Pakistan over ISI’s activities as the bluntest warning to Islamabad since shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
It was published a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani visited the White House and made a commitment to U.S. President George W. Bush to secure Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.
The New York Times said the CIA assessment specifically raised links between ISI members and the militant network led by Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, believed by the U.S. intelligence community to have close ties to senior al Qaeda figures in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
The Haqqani network and other militants operating in the tribal areas along Pakistan’s Afghan border are thought to be behind increasingly deadly attacks inside Afghanistan, the newspaper said.
Gilani told PBS television in Washington on Tuesday the ISI was a “great institution” and said reports some members of the agency were sympathetic to the militants are “not believable.”
“We would not allow that ... because the ISI is directly working under the Prime Minister,” he told the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer in an interview.
Reporting by Paul Eckert, editing by Alan Elsner