According to a New York Times story dated August 1, American spy agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of the Indian embassy.
The American officials have also claimed that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were providing militants with details about the American campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid American missile strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas.
According to the NYT, concerns about the role played by Pakistani intelligence not only have strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, a longtime ally, but also has fanned tensions between Pakistan and its archrival, India. Within days of the bombings, Indian officials accused the ISI of helping to orchestrate the attack in Kabul, which killed 54, including an Indian defense attaché and a counsellor.
Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman has rejected as false the latest claims made in the NYT story. One finds it hard to believe that the ISI would take such an irresponsible step that could go against the country's vital interests and drag the agency to disrepute. Besides, Pakistan has embassies all over the world, including Kabul, which are equally vulnerable to attack.
In sixty years, neither India nor Pakistan have deemed it appropriate to cross the red line by sanctioning a physical attack on each other's embassies. The same American officials who now blame Pakistan have probably forgotten that in September 1995, when the forebears of the present regime held office in Kabul, Pakistan's embassy was stormed by a mob and Pakistan's ambassador was injured and some officials killed.
The logical explanation for the Indian embassy attack is that the anti-Afghan Government militants know that India is supporting the Northern Alliance- dominated government of President Karzai, and they want to scare Indians away. Pakistan may be unhappy about the number of Indian consulates along its western borders, but not to the extent of derailing the movement towards normalization of relations between the two countries.
Having said this, it is imperative for the ISI to remove the perception that rogue operators are infesting the agency and cooperating with Taliban militants by leaking intelligence to them. All the agencies of the Pakistan government have to act in unison in defense of national interest. ISI cannot afford to give the impression of wanting to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds at the same time. In light of the latest accusations, General Kayani as Army Chief and DG ISI have to make doubly sure that the agency operates strictly under the chain of command in carrying out its mandate.
Some American officials have begun to suggest that Pakistan is no longer a fully reliable American partner and to advocate some unilateral American action against militants based in the tribal areas. The ISI has long maintained ties to militant ...