Washington: Pakistan’s spy agency ISI is behind the attack on Pathankot airbase in Punjab using a terrorist group it created 15 years ago, a former top White House official has said.
Bruce Riedel, who worked in the National Security Council of the White House and was among the few present at the Bill Clinton-Nawaz Sharif meeting in 1999 during Kargil war, said the attack is designed to prevent any detente between India and Pakistan after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise Christmas Day visit to Pakistan.
In an article in the Daily Beast, Riedel said the attacks in Pathankot and on the Indian consulate in Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan was the handiwork of Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Muhammad which the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) created 15 years ago. He quoted “well-informed press and other knowledgeable sources” for his assessment.
He said the ISI is under the generals’ command and is composed of army officers, so the spies are controlled by the Pakistani army, which justifies its large budget and nuclear weapons program by citing the Indian menace.
“Any diminution in tensions with India might risk the army’s lock on its control of Pakistan’s national security policy. The army continues to distinguish between ‘good’ terrorists like JeM and LeT and ‘bad’ terrorists like the Pakistani Taliban, despite decades of lectures from American leaders,” he said.