- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Pakistani government Friday denied allegations that its intelligence agency was involved in the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

U.S. counterterrorism officials said that “there are indications that elements of the ISI [Pakistan’s Interservices Intelligence] provided support to those believed responsible for carrying out the attack” on the embassy.

“The Pakistani government and the ISI in particular are not monolithic,” said the counterterrorism official, who asked that his name and agency not be disclosed due to the sensitivity of his work. “In some areas there is good terrorism cooperation. That said, there’s genuine and longstanding concerns.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq described the report as “total rubbish.” Mr. Sadiq said there was no evidence of ISI involvement.

However, government spokeswoman Sherry Rehman said there were “probably” individuals in the ISI working against official policy - the first acknowledgment from Pakistan’s new government that Taliban sympathizers may lurk in the agency.

Authorities “need to identify these people and weed them out,” she said.

The story was first reported in the New York Times on Friday.

In a meeting with reporters and editors Wednesday at The Washington Times, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said U.S. concerns about collusion between members of his intelligence agency and terrorists would be taken seriously and “would be resolved.”

He said no evidence had been brought to him, as of yet, concluding that members of the ISI were involved in the July 7 bombing that left 42 dead. More than 150 people were taken to hospitals in the city.

The bomb, which was set off by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (IED), left debris throughout the neighborhood. The blast could be felt over a mile and a half away.

Members of the ISI were thought to have been working with the Jalaluddin Haqqani network, a Taliban group with strong ties to al Qaeda, according to several U.S. intelligence and defense officials.

Defense intelligence officials in Khost province, in eastern Afghanistan, told The Times that Haqqani’s Taliban group has been growing in strength over the past year and presenting numerous challenges to U.S. and international forces in the eastern region.

Haqqani is responsible for numerous IED attacks along the main thoroughfares in the eastern province. He is also known for recruiting childrento serve as suicide bombers and is increasing his insurgency by utilizing foreign fighters.

  • This article is based in part on wire service reports
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