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More shame and retribution heading ISI's way

Last updated on: May 2, 2011 17:56 IST

More shame and retribution heading ISI's way

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Vicky Nanjappa

Vicky Nanjappa predicts embarrasing days ahead for Pakistani intelligence agency ISI in the aftermath of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's killing

Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence is bound to be cornered in the days to come following the killing of dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden.

A source in the intelligence agency says that Osama's death will no doubt put the ISI in a very uncomfortable position among the Al Qaeda, Haqqani Network and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, who now feel betrayed by the agency

Coverage: US hunts down Osama bin Laden

When the dust settles, more embarrasment could come the ISI's way with the trial of terror suspects David Coleman Headley and Tahhawur Rana due to commence.

Nothing in the Af-Pak region goes unnoticed by the ISI and if bin Laden managed to play hide and seek with the world all this while, it was only thanks to ISI's patronage. Although the US has claimed that Pakistan was not in the know of this operation, terror groups would not believe so.

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Terror outfits feel betrayed by the ISI

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They are aware that nothing is possible unless there has been a certain degree of support from the establishment. Moreover, Osama was living in a place close to the army headquarters in Abbottabad, about 70 km northeast of Pakistan's capital Islamabad. This is not a fact that would have gone unnoticed by the ISI.

The Pakistan military largely depends on the intelligence provided by the ISI and hence all these movements and operations are well known to the establishment.

The biggest backlash would, however, be from the Haqqani Network with which the ISI has been toying for some time now. The ISI had managed to get the outfit into the Al Qaeda network. For the ISI, this move had paid off as it managed to set up a very strong force. But today, both outfits feel betrayed.


Image: Jallaluddin Haqqani

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Why the ISI is extremely worried

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The other embrassment that the ISI would face is post May 15 when Headley and Rana go on trial. Rana, in particular, had in his defence claimed that the LeT had nothing to do with the 26/11 attack in Mumbai and that it was the ISI, which had planned everything since day one.

The ISI is extremely worried; it has been trying to exert immense pressure through diplomatic channels to prevent any such statement from coming out. If Rana's claims are accepted by the court, many high-ranking officials will have to stand trial. It would also go on to confirm that the Pakistani establishment had sponsored the gruesome attack on Indian soil.

Indian agencies feel that the ISI would first look to rally its troops together and assure them that the war could still go on. However, terrorist groups would settle for nothing less than revenge and the ISI would need to play along to keep them amused. This would mean trouble, as the ISI is expected to give them a free hand to stage attacks.



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