Former Inter-Services Intelligence chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha has admitted that the deadly Haqqani network was created by it and America’s Central Intelligence Agency and claimed that the insurgent group's chief Jalaluddin Haqqani had "in fact been invited to the White House by President (Ronald) Reagan".
According to the damning remarks by Pasha, leaked by Al Jazeera news channel, the country under military ruler Pervez Musharraf and the US had reached a "political" understanding on the use of the CIA-operated drones targeting Islamist terrorists, notwithstanding Pakistan's public denouncement of American strikes.
"Regarding the so-called Haqqani network, the deputy general of the ISI said that it had been created by both the CIA and the ISI against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Jalaluddin Haqqani had in fact been invited to the White House by President Reagan," the Abbottabad commission's leaked report said.
Though the year in which Haqqani was invited was not part of the report, Reagan was US President between 1981-89. Pasha headed the ISI at the time of bin Laden's killing by US Navy SEALs in 2011.
He said though the fighting core of the Haqqani group in Afghanistan had been placed on the UN sanction list, its non- combat members had not been placed on the list. "The ISI was in contact only with these non-sanctioned members of the Haqqani group who were responsible for administrative and other matter. The United Kingdom, Italy and some other countries were also in touch with them," the report published by Al Jazeera said.
Haqqani network, the main fighting force against the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Afghanistan, has in the past been referred to as the "veritable arm" of the ISI by US' former top military commander Mike Mullen.
Haqqani network is also blamed for the bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. The report also talks about the drone strikes. "Regarding any understanding between the US and Pakistan on the American drone attacks, the DG said there were no written agreements. There was a political understanding," the report said
The Americans had been asked to stop drone strikes because they caused civilian casualties, but "it was easier to say no to them in the beginning, but 'now it was more difficult' to do so," it quoted the former spymaster as saying.
"Admittedly the drone attacks had their utility, but they represented a breach of national sovereignty. They were legal according to American law but illegal according to international law," the report quoted the ISI chief as saying.
He also confirmed that Shamsi air base, in southwestern Pakistan, had been used for US drone strikes against people in the country. Pakistan had asked US personnel to leave the base after botched US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011.
Pasha also spoke about what he termed as US arrogance which "knew no limits" and accused the Americans of waging "psychological warfare" over the whereabouts of Taliban leader Mullah Omar and bin Laden's successor Ayman al-Zawahiri.
He quoted a US intelligence officer as saying "you are so cheap... we can buy you with a visa," and said himself that systemic failures showed Pakistan was a "failing state".