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ISI still linked to terror groups, says Obama aide

Published on: Friday, 12th June 2009 07:45 AM     By      Administrator


Source : Rediff

Bruce Riedel, senior National Security Council official in the Clinton Administration, who spearheaded President Obama'sstrategic review on Afghanistan and Pakistan, told that for all the Pakistani leadership assurances that the ISI has severed its links with terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayibaand the Taliban, the ISI's association with them is as entrenched as ever.

In an interaction that followed his remarks and that of other experts at a discussion on Afghanistan and Pakistan: A Status Report, organized by The Brookings Institution, Riedel said change is "not going to come overnight," and pointed to the recent release of  LeT leader Hafiz Mohammed Saeed as a tangible manifestation of these entrenched links.

Riedel, currently a Senior Fellow at Brookings, said, "This relationship is built over 30 years," with these groups "and is not going to be resolved overnight." 

"First of all, many Pakistanis don't believe we'll be there," in the region over the long-term. "They believe we're going to cut and run, whether it is three years from now or four years from now." Thus, Riedel said, these so-called strategic assets for Islamabad'sefforts to maintain a strategic depth against India in Afghanistan and to fight its proxy war in Kashmir would continue to be a kind of insurance policy in the event of a US withdrawal and a diminution of massive assistance as has been the experience of the past. "Changing that calculation will be critical," he said, if the US is to succeed in persuading Pakistan to "change their policies," towards these groups. But Riedel acknowledged that "the hard part right now," was to convince Pakistan to sever its links with these groups because the ISI evidently believe that these associations will pay off in the long run.

Read the complete article : Rediff