Inter-Services Intelligence: Wikis


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Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence
Agency overview
Formed 1948
Jurisdiction Pakistani Government
Headquarters Islamabad
Agency executive Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Director General
Inter-Services Intelligence
Coat of arms of Pakistan.svg
Faith, Unity, Discipline
Director  : Ahmad Shuja Pasha
Department  : Military of Pakistan
Established  : 1948
Major departments:
  • Joint Intelligence X (JIX)
  • Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB)
  • Joint Counter Intelligence Bureau (JCIB)
  • Joint Intelligence North (JIN)
  • Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous (JIM)
  • Joint Signal Intelligence Bureau (JSIB)
  • Joint Intelligence Technical (JIT)
Notable Directors:

The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (also Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI) is the largest intelligence service in Pakistan. It is one of the three main branches of Pakistan's intelligence agencies. The ISI's role and function in Pakistan and abroad is similar to that of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in America and Great Britain, respectively.

The Inter-Services Intelligence was created as an independent unit in 1948 in order to strengthen the performance of Pakistan's Military Intelligence during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. It was formerly in the Intelligence Bureau (IB), which handled intelligence sharing between the different branches of the military as well as external intelligence gathering. Its headquarters was initially located in Rawalpindi but later it was moved to Islamabad. The current director of the organization is Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, who took over in September 2008.



After independence in 1947, two new intelligence agencies were created in Pakistan: the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Military Intelligence (MI). However, the weak performance of the MI in sharing intelligence between the Army, Navy and Air Force during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 led to the creation of the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 1948.[1] The ISI was structured to be manned by officers from the three main military services, and to specialize in the collection, analysis and assessment of external intelligence, either military or non-military.[1] The ISI was the brainchild of Australian-born British Army officer, Major General R. Cawthome, then Deputy Chief of Staff in the Pakistan Army.[1][2] Initially, the ISI had no role in the collection of internal intelligence, with the exception of the North-West Frontier Province and Azad Kashmir.[1]

In the late 1950s, when Ayub Khan became the President of Pakistan, he expanded the role of ISI in monitoring opposition politicians, and sustaining military rule in Pakistan.[2] The ISI was reorganised in 1966 after intelligence failures in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965[3], and expanded in 1969. Khan entrusted the ISI with the responsibility for the collection of internal political intelligence in East Pakistan. Later on, during the Baloch nationalist revolt in Balochistan in the mid-1970s, the ISI was tasked with performing a similar intelligence gathering operation.[3]

The ISI lost its importance during the regime of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was very critical of its role during the 1970 general elections, which triggered off the events leading to the partition of Pakistan and emergence of Bangladesh.[3]

After General Zia ul-Haq seized power in July 1977, the ISI was expanded by making it responsible for the collection of intelligence about the Sindh-based Pakistan Communist Party and various political parties such as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).[3]

The Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s saw the enhancement of the covert action capabilities of the ISI by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). A special Afghan Section was created under the command of colonel Mohammed Yousaf to oversee the coordination of the war. A number of officers from the ISI's Covert Action Division received training in the US and many covert action experts of the CIA were attached to the ISI to guide it in its operations against the Soviet troops by using the Afghan Mujahideen.


The objectives of ISI are:[4]

  1. Safeguard Pakistani interests and national security inside and outside the country
  2. Monitor the political and military developments in adjoining countries, which have direct bearing on Pakistan's national security and in the formulation of its foreign policy and to collect foreign and domestic intelligence in such cases
  3. Co-ordination of intelligence functions of the three military services
  4. Keep vigilant surveillance over its cadres, foreigners, the media, politically active segments of Pakistani society, diplomats of other countries accredited to Pakistan and Pakistani diplomats serving abroad


ISI's headquarters are located in Islamabad and currently the head of the ISI is called the Director General who has to be a serving Lieutenant General in the Pakistan Army.[citation needed] Under the Director General, three Deputy Director Generals report directly to him and are in charge in three separate fields of the ISI which are Internal wing - dealing with counter-intelligence and political issues inside Pakistan, External wing - handling external issues, and Analysis and Foreign Relations wing.[5]

The general staff of the ISI mainly come from police, paramilitary forces and some specialized units from the Pakistan Army such as the SSG commandos.[citation needed] While the total number has never been made public, experts estimate about 10,000 officers and staff members, which does not include informants and assets.[2]



  • Joint Intelligence X, coordinates all the other departments in the ISI.[2] Intelligence and information gathered from the other departments are sent to JIX which prepares and processes the information and from which prepares reports which are presented.
  • Joint Intelligence Bureau, responsible for gathering political intelligence.[2] It has three subsections, one divided entirely to operations against India.[2]
  • Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous, responsible for espionage, including offensive intelligence operations, in other countries.[2]
  • Joint Signal Intelligence Bureau, operates intelligence collections along the India-Pakistan border.[2]
  • Joint Intelligence Technical[2]

In addition, there are also separate explosives and a chemical warfare sections.[2]


  1. Brig Riaz Hussain.[6] 1959 - 1966
  2. Maj Gen (then Brig) Mohammad Akbar Khan.[7] 1966 - 1971
  3. Lt Gen (then Maj Gen) Ghulam Jilani Khan. 1971 - 1978
  4. Lt Gen Muhammad Riaz. 1978 - 1980
  5. Lt Gen Akhtar Abdur Rahman. 1980 - March 1987
  6. Lt Gen Hamid Gul. March 1987 - May 1989
  7. Lt Gen (retd) Shamsur Rahman Kallu. May 1989 - August 1990
  8. Lt Gen Asad Durrani. August 1990 - March 1992
  9. Lt Gen Javed Nasir. March 1992 - May 1993
  10. Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi. May 1993 - 1995
  11. Lt Gen (then Maj Gen) Naseem Rana. 1995 - October 1998
  12. Lt Gen Ziauddin Butt . October 1998 - October 1999
  13. Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmed. October 1999 - October 2001
  14. Lt Gen Ehsan ul Haq. October 2001 - October 2004
  15. Lt Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. October 2004 - October 2007
  16. Lt Gen Nadeem Taj. October 2007 - October 2008
  17. Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha. October 2008–Present

Recruitment and training

Both civilians and members of the armed forces can join the ISI. For civilians, recruitment is advertised and is jointly handled by the Federal Public Services Commission (FPSC) and civilian ISI agents are considered employees of the Ministry of Defense. The FPSC conducts various examinations testing the candidate's knowledge of current affairs, English and various analytical abilities. Based on the results, the FPSC shortlists the candidates and sends the list to the ISI who conduct the initial background checks. The selected candidates are then invited for an interview which is conducted by a joint committee comprising both ISI and FPSC officials.

Those candidates who passed the interview then have to go through rigorous fitness, medical and psychological evaluations. Once the candidate clears these evaluations, the ISI performs a very through background check on the candidate before being offered to join the ISI. Security clearance is granted once the candidate accepts the offer. Recruited agents then go to the Inter-Services Intelligence School for basic training following which they are employed on an initial one year probationary period. However, civilian operatives are not allowed to rise above the equivalent of the rank of Major and are mostly assigned to JIX, JIB and JCIB departments and the rest of the departments are solely headed by the armed forces but there have been rare cases in which civilians have been assigned to those departments.

For the armed forces, officers have to apply for admission into the Inter-Services Intelligence School. After finishing the intelligence course, they can apply to be posted in Field Intelligence Units or in the directorate of Military/Air/Naval intelligence. Then they wait and hope that their performance is good enough to be invited to the ISI for a temporary posting. Based on their performance in the military and the temporary posting with ISI, they are then offered a more permanent position.

Senior ISI officers with ranks of Major and above are only assigned to the ISI for no more than 2-3 years to curtail the attempt to abuse their power. Almost all of the Director-Generals of the ISI have never served in the organization before being appointed by the Military commanders to lead it. ISI also monitors former, current and retired military officers who at one point or another held sensitive positions and had access to classified data.



Collection of information: ISI obtains information critical to Indian strategic interests. Both overt and covert means are adopted.

Classification of information: Data is sifted through, classified as appropriate, and filed with the assistance of the computer network in ISI's headquarters in Islamabad.

Aggressive intelligence: The primary mission of ISI includes aggressive intelligence which comprises espionage, psychological warfare, subversion, sabotage.

Counterintelligence: ISI has a dedicated section which spies against enemy's intelligence collection.


Diplomatic missions: Diplomatic missions provide an ideal cover and ISI centers in a target country are generally located on the embassy premises.

Multinationals: ISI operatives find good covers in multinational organizations. Non-governmental organizations and cultural programmes are also popular screens to shield ISI activities.

Media: International media centers can easily absorb ISI operatives and provide freedom of movement.

Collaboration with other agencies: ISI maintains active collaboration with other secret services in various countries. Its contacts with Saudi Arabian Intelligence Services, Chinese Intelligence, the American CIA and British MI6 have been well-known.

Third Country Technique: ISI has been active in obtaining information and operating through third countries like Afghanistan, Nepal, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkey and China.

Operations History


  • (1982) ISI, CIA and Mossad carried out a covert transfer of Soviet-made weapons and Lebanese weapons captured by the Israelis during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 and their subsequent transfer to Pakistan and then into Afghanistan. All knowledge of this weapon transfer was kept secret and was only made public recently.[citation needed]
ISI Director, Akhtar Abdur Rahman who was the architect of the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union.
  • (1982–1997) ISI are considered Godfathers of the Taliban and believed to have access to Osama bin Laden in the past.[8] ISI played a central role in the U.S.-backed guerrilla war to oust the Soviet Army from Afghanistan in the 1980s. That Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-backed effort flooded Pakistan with weapons and with Afghan, Pakistani and Arab "mujahideen", who were motivated to fight as a united force protecting fellow Muslims in Soviet occupied Afghanistan. The CIA relied on the ISI to train fighters, distribute arms, and channel money. The ISI trained about 83,000 Afghan mujahideen between 1983 and 1997, and dispatched them to Afghanistan. B. Raman of the South Asia Analysis Group, an Indian think-tank, claims that the Central Intelligence Agency through the ISI promoted the smuggling of heroin into Afghanistan in order to turn the Soviet troops into heroin addicts and thus greatly reducing their fighting potential.[9]
  • (1986) Worrying that among the large influx of Afghan refugees that come into Pakistan due to the Soviet-Afghan war were members of KHAD (Afghan Intelligence), the ISI successfully convinced Mansoor Ahmed who was the Charge-de-Affairs of the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad to turn his back on the Soviet backed Afghan government. He and his family were secretly escorted out of their residence and were given safe passage on a London bound British Airways flight in exchange for classified information in regard to Afghan agents in Pakistan. The Soviet and Afghan diplomats tried their best to find the family but were unsuccessful.[10]
  • (1994) The Taliban regime that the ISI supported after 1994 to suppress warlord fighting and in hopes of bringing stability to Afghanistan proved too rigid in its Islamic interpretations and too fond of the Al-Qaeda based on its soil. Despite receiving large sums of aid from Pakistan, the Taliban leader Mullah Omar is reported to have insulted a visiting delegation of Saudi Prince Sultan and an ISI general asking that the Taliban turn over bin Laden to Saudi Arabia.[11] Following the 9/11 attack on the United States by Al-Qaeda, Pakistan felt it necessary to cooperate with the US and the Northern Alliance.
  • (2001 onwards) American officials believe members of the Pakistani intelligence service are alerting militants to imminent American missile strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas. There is also evidence that the ISI helped plan the July 7, 2009, bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul. This conclusion is based on signals intelligence between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants.[12] In October 2009, Davood Moradian, a senior policy adviser to foreign minister Spanta, said the British and American governments were fully aware of the ISI's role but lacked the courage to confront Islamabad. He claimed that the Afghan government had given British and American intelligence agents evidence that proved ISI involvement in bombings [13].


A declassified US State Department telegram that confirms the existence of Pakistani infiltrators in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1965.
  • (1950s) The ISI's Covert Action Division was used in assisting the insurgents in India's North-East.[14]
  • (1965) The 1965 war in Kashmir provoked a major crisis in intelligence. When the war started, there was a complete collapse of the operations of all the intelligence agencies, after the commencement of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, was apparently unable to locate an Indian armored division due to its preoccupation with political affairs. Ayub Khan set up a committee headed by General Yahya Khan to examine the working of the agencies.[14]
  • (1980) The PAF Field Intelligence Unit at their base in Karachi in July 1980 captured an Indian agent[citation needed]. He was interrogated and revealed that a large network of Indian spies were functioning in Karachi. The agent claimed that these spies, in addition to espionage, had also assassinated a few armed personnel[citation needed]. He also said the leader of the spy ring was being headed by the food and beverages manager at the Intercontinental Hotel in Karachi and a number of serving Air Force officers and ratings were on his payroll. The ISI decided to survey the manager to see who he was in contact with, but then President of Pakistan Zia-ul Haq superseded and wanted the manager and anyone else involved in the case arrested immediately. It was later proven that the manager was completely innocent.[10]
  • (1983) Ilam Din also known as Ilmo was an infamous Indian spy working from Pakistan. He had eluded being captured many times but on March 23 at 3 a.m., Ilmo and two other Indian spies were apprehended by Pakistani Rangers as they were illegally crossing into Pakistan from India. Their mission was to spy and report back on the new military equipment that Pakistan will be showing in their annual March 23 Pakistan day parade. Ilmo after being thoroughly interrogated was then forced by the ISI to send false information to his R&AW handlers in India. This process continued and many more Indian spies in Pakistan were flushed out, such as Roop Lal.[10]
  • (1984) ISI uncovered a secret deal in which naval base facilities were granted by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to the USSR in Vizag and the Andaman & Nicobar Island and the alleged attachment of KGB advisers to the then Lieutenant General Sunderji who was the commander of Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple in Amritsar in June 1984.[9]
  • (1984) ISI failed to perform a proper background check on the British company which supplied the Pakistan Army with its Arctic-weather gear. When Pakistan attempted to secure the top of the Siachen Glacier in 1984, it placed a large order for Arctic-weather gear with the same company that also supplied the Indian Army with its gear. Indians were easily alerted to the large Pakistani purchase and deduced that this large purchase could be used to equip troops to capture the glacier.[15]
  • (1985) A routine background check on various staff members working for the Indian embassy raised suspicions on an Indian woman who worked as a school teacher in an Indian School in Islamabad. Her enthusiastic and too friendly attitude gave her up. She was in reality an agent working for the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). ISI monitored her movements to a hotel in Islamabad where she rendezvoused with a local Pakistani man who worked as an nuclear engineer for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. ISI then confronted her and were then able to turn her into a double agent spying on the Indian Embassy in Islamabad.[10]


  • (1980) ISI became aware of a plot to assassinate the President of Pakistan, Zia-ul-Haq and then launch a bloody coup to depose the current government and install an extreme Islamic government in its place. The attempted assassination and coup was to occur on March 23, 1980 during the annual March 23 Pakistan day parade. The masterminds behind the coup were high ranking Military and Intelligence officers and were led by Major General Tajammal Hussain Malik, his son, Captain Naveed and his nephew Major Riaz, a former Military Intelligence officer. ISI decided against arresting these men outright because they did not know how deep this conspiracy went and kept these men under strict surveillance. As the date of the annual parade approached, ISI was satisfied that it had identified the major players in this conspiracy and then arrested these men along with quite a few high ranking military officers.[10]


  • (1978) ISI decided to spy on the residence of Colonel Hussain Imam Mabruk who was a Military Attaché to the Embassy of Libya in Islamabad as he had made some inflammatory statements towards the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq. The spying paid off as he was seen talking with two Pakistani gentlemen who entered and left the compound suspiciously. The ISI monitored the two men and were later identified as Pakistani exiles that hated the current military regime and were Bhutto loyalists. They had received terrorist training in Libya and were ready to embark on a terrorist campaign in Pakistan to force the Army to step down from power. All members of the conspiracy were apprehended before any damage could be done.[10]
  • (1981) In 1981, a Libyan Security company called Al Murtaza Associates sent recruiters to Pakistan to entice former soldiers and servicemen for high paying security jobs in Libya. In reality, Libya was recruiting mercenaries to fight with Chad and Egypt as it had border disputes with both nations. Only later did the ISI become aware of the plot and the whole scheme was stopped, but nearly 2,700 Pakistanis had already left for those jobs.[10][See also CIA drug trafficking#Soviet Afghanistan, CIA transnational anti-crime and anti-drug activities#Southwest Asia, Operation Cyclone, Badaber Uprising].


  • (1979) After the failure of Operation Eagle Claw, the U.S. media outlets such as Newsweek and Time reported that CIA agents stationed in Tehran had obtained information in regard to the location of the hostages, in-house information from a Pakistani cook who used to work for the U.S. Embassy. ISI successfully gathered evidence, and intercepted communication documents and showed it to the Iranian Chief of J-2 which cleared the cook. The Iranian chief of intelligence said, "We know, the Big Satan is a big liar."[10]


  • (1979) ISI foiled an attempt by the French Ambassador to Pakistan, Le Gourrierce and his First Secretary, Jean Forlot who were on a surveillance mission to Kahuta Research Laboratories nuclear complex on June 26, 1979. Both were intercepted and their cameras and other sensitive equipment were confiscated. Intercepted documents later on showed that the two were recruited by the CIA.[10]

Soviet Union and Post-Soviet states

  • (1980) ISI had placed a mole in the Soviet Union's embassy in Islamabad. The mole reported that the Third Secretary in the Soviet Embassy was after information in regard to the Karakurum Highway and was obtaining it from a middle level employee, Mr. Ejaz, of the Northern Motor Transport Company. ISI contacted Mr. Ejaz who then confessed that a few months ago the Soviet diplomat approached him and threatened his family unless he divulged sensitive information in regard to the highway such as alignment of the road, location of bridges, the number of Chinese personnel working on the Highway, etc. The ISI instead of confronting the Soviet diplomat chose to feed him with false information. This continued until the Soviet diplomat was satisfied that Mr. Ejaz had been bled white of all the information and then dropped him as a source.[10]
  • (1991–1993) Major General Sultan Habib who was an operative of the ISI's Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous department successfully procured nuclear material while being posted as the Defense Attaché in the Pakistani Embassy in Moscow from 1991 to 1993 and concurrently obtaining other materials from Central Asian Republics, Poland and the former Czechoslovakia. After Moscow, Major General Habib then coordinated shipping of missiles from North Korea and the training of Pakistani experts in the missile production. These two acts greatly enhanced Pakistan's Nuclear weapons program and their missile delivery systems.[9]

United States

  • (1980s) ISI successfully intercepted two American private weapons dealers during the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s. One American diplomat (his name has not been de-classified) who lived in the F-7/4 sector of Islamabad was spotted by an ISI agent in a seedy part of Rawalpindi by his automobile's diplomatic plates. He was bugged and trailed and was found to be in contact with various tribal groups supplying them with weapons for their fight with the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. Another was Eugene Clegg, a teacher in the American International School who also indulged in weapons trade. One American International School employee and under cover agent Mr. Naeem was arrested while waiting to clear shippment from Islamabad custom. All of them were put out of business.[10]

Capture of World's Most Wanted Terrorists

KSM the main planner for 9/11 terrorist attacks captured by ISI in 2003.[19]
  • Adam Yahiye Gadahn: Adam Yahiye Gadahn, an American-born senior operative, cultural interpreter, spokesman and media advisor for the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, was captured by Pakistani intelligence officials on March 7th 2010 in the city of Karachi.[1]
  • Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh: Sheikh Omar Saeed, a British-born terrorist of Pakistani descent was arrested by Pakistani police on February 12, 2002, in Lahore, in conjunction with the Pearl kidnapping. Pearl had been kidnapped, had his throat slit, and then been beheaded and Sheikh Omar Saeed was named the chief suspect.[22] Sheikh told the Pakistani court, however, that he had surrendered to the ISI a week earlier.[23]
  • Abu Zubaydah: Abu Zubaydah, an Al-Qaeda terrorist responsible for hatching multiple terrorist plots including sending Ahmed Ressam to blow up the Los Angeles airport in 2000.[24] He was captured on March 28, 2002, by ISI, CIA and FBI agents after they had raided several safe houses in Faisalabad, Pakistan.[25][26][27][28]
  • Abu Faraj Farj al-Liby: Pakistani intelligence agencies and security forces arrested Abu Faraj Farj al-Liby, mastermind of two failed attempts on President Pervez Musharraf's life, in May 2005.[32]
  • Abdul Ghani Baradar: Taliban's deputy commander, Abdul Ghani Baradar was captured by U.S. and Pakistani forces in Pakistan on February 8, 2010, in a morning raid.[33]


Critics of the ISI say that it has become a state within a state, answerable neither to the leadership of the army, nor to the President or the Prime Minister.[34]. After much criticism, the Pakistani Government disbanded the ISI 'Political Wing' in 2008.[35]

Domestic activities

The ISI has been deeply involved in domestic politics of Pakistan since the late 1950s. The 1990 elections for example were widely believed to have been rigged by the ISI in favor of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) party, a conglomerate of nine mainly rightist parties by the ISI under Lt. General Hameed Gul, to ensure the defeat of Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the polls.[2] Gul has denied that the vote was rigged. In early 1990s ISI became involved in politics of Karachi, it launched operation against the Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) seeing its growing terrorist activities in the province of Sindh.[36] ISI's Internal Political Division has been accused by various members of the Pakistan People's Party in assassinating Shahnawaz Bhutto, one of the two brothers of Benazir Bhutto, through poisoning in the French Riviera in the middle of 1985 in an attempt to intimidate her into not returning to Pakistan for directing the movement against Zia's Military government, but no proof has been found implicating the ISI.[9]

The ISI was also involved in a massive corruption scandal the Mehran bank scandal dubbed "Mehrangate", in which top ISI and Army brass were given large sums of money by Yunus Habib (the owner of Mehran Bank) to deposit ISI's foreign exchange reserves in Mehran Bank.[37] This was against government policy, as such banking which involves government institutions can only be done through state-owned financial institutions and not private banks. When the new director of the ISI was appointed and then proceeded to withdraw the money from Mehran Bank and back into state-owned financial institutions, the money had been used up in financing Habib's "extracurricular" activities. On April 20, 1994, Habib was arrested and the scandal became public.

Activities in India and Afghanistan

India, on basis of data collected on Islamic insurgents in Kashmir, has blamed the ISI for training, arming and giving logistics to the separatists who are fighting the Indian security forces in Kashmir.[9] Federation of American Scientists reports that the Inter-Service Intelligence, is the main supplier of funds and arms to the separatist groups.[2] The British Government had stated there is a 'clear link' between Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and three major terrorist outfits[38] The Guardian newspaper had uncovered evidence that Kashmiri separatists were openly raising funds and training new recruits and that the ISI's Kashmir cell was instrumental in funding and controlling these outfits.[39] India also accused ISI of masterminding the 1993 Mumbai bombings, with backing from Dawood Ibrahim's D-Company.[9] Aside from Kashmir, India accuses the ISI of running training camps near the border of Bangladesh in late 1990s where India claims the ISI trains members of various separatist groups from the northeastern Indian states. The ISI has denied these accusations.

In January 1993, the United States placed Pakistan on the watch list of such countries which were suspected of sponsoring international terrorism. This decision was made in part because the current head of the ISI in 1993, Lt. Gen. Javed Nasir, had become a stumbling block in American efforts to buy back hundreds of shoulder-fired, surface-to-air FIM-92 Stinger missiles from the Afghan Mujahideen and was assisting organizations such as Harkat ul-Ansar, which had been branded as a terrorist organization by the US. Once Nasir's tenure as ISI chief ended, the US removed Pakistan from the terrorism watch list.[citation needed]

After 9/11, ISI was supposedly purged of members who did not support President Pervez Musharraf's stance towards the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Newsreports in July 2008, however indicate that ISI may instead have chosen to merely suppress the activities of these individuals rather than remove them from office. Initially, the decision of the ISI to suddenly switch support to the United States went almost un-noticed. Several years later, it was revealed that the US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage had allegedly threatened to bomb Pakistan 'back to the Stone Age' if Pakistan did not support the US led War on Terror. This was according to President Musharraf and the ex-CIA chief George Tenet. It is known that Richard Armitage invited Pakistan's Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi and the-then ISI chief Mahmood Ahmed, who was in Washington, to his office on September 13, 2001, two days after the 9/11 attacks for talks, but Richard Armitage has denied using those words.[40]

In September 2006, President Pervez Musharraf has angrily rejected any allegations that Pakistan's intelligence service has indirectly helped the Taleban and al-Qaeda. The claims are in a document written by a researcher working for the UK's defence ministry. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) paper says Pakistan's intelligence service, ISI, indirectly backs terrorism by supporting religious parties in the country. And he rejected the suggestion in the report that the ISI should be dismantled. President Musharraf responded by saying "I totally, 200% reject it. I reject it from anybody - MoD or anyone who tells me to dismantle ISI. The ISI is a disciplined force, breaking the back of al-Qaeda. Getting 680 top level Al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders would not have been possible if our ISI was not doing an excellent job."[41]

In July 2008, American intelligence agencies said that ISI officers helped plan the 2008 Indian embassy bombing in Kabul. They said that the ISI officers had not been renegades, indicating that their actions might have been authorized by superiors.[12]

During a visit to Washington for talks with President Bush, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was handed a “chargesheet” by CIA chief Michael Hayden on the Inter-Services Intelligence links to militant activities and was told to “rein in the ISI” during their meeting in Washington. “Some information in the CIA chargesheet was so damning that the Pakistanis could not deny them,” a senior official familiar with the talks told the Dawn newspaper. The CIA chief, who met Gilani at a dinner, is believed to have told the Prime Minister that Pakistan will have to do something about the alleged involvement of ISI officials with militants.[42]

Some members of the American media and political establishment have questioned Pakistan's commitment in combating the Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants in border areas. The CIA has accused members of the ISI of "tipping off" militants before the US launches missile strikes against them in the tribal areas. This was told to the Pakistani Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar, who was speaking in Washington where he was accompanying Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on his first visit to the United States. During talks, President Bush asked "Who is in charge of the ISI?"[43] In response, Pakistan has pointed to the deployment of nearly 80,000 troops in the border areas and the arrests of more than 700 Al Qaeda members carried out by supposedly ISI members, the most high profile ones including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, as proof that the ISI was serious in its commitment to fighting the War on Terrorism.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence". Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Pike, John (2002-07-25). "Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d rakshak, Bharat. "ISI". Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  4. ^ Inter-Services Intelligence
  5. ^ Shuja Nawaz. "Focusing the Spy Glass on Pakistan's ISI" The Huffington Post, 2 October 2008
  6. ^ Altaf Gauhar. "How Intelligence Agencies Run Our Politics" The Nation, August 17, 1997
  7. ^ "Changes in the Army High Command:Profiles of Yahya and Yaqub Khan" British High Commission, 5 May 1966
  8. ^ Pakistan's 'godfathers of the Taliban' hold the key to hunt for bin Laden
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Raman, B. "PAKISTAN'S INTER-SERVICES INTELLIGENCE (ISI)". Retrieved 2006-05-05. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Brigadier Syed A. I. Tirmazi (1985). Profiles of Intelligence. Combined Printers. Library of Congress Catalogue No. 95-930455. 
  11. ^ Rashid, Ahmed, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. Yale University Press, (2000), p.138, 231
  12. ^ a b Pakistanis aided attack in Kabul, Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, Friday, August 1, 2008
  13. ^ "Pakistan's ISI still supporting the Taliban, say Afghans - Pakistan's intelligence agency is directing Taliban attacks on Western targets in Afghanistan, Davood Moradian, a senior government official has claimed"
  14. ^ a b c PAKISTAN'S INTER-SERVICES INTELLIGENCE (ISI), South Asia Analysis Group
  15. ^ McGirk, Tim; Adiga, Aravind (2005-05-04). "War at the Top of the World". Time. p. 2. 
  16. ^ Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Federation of American Scientists
  17. ^ Does Obama understand his biggest foreign-policy challenge?,, 2008-12-12
  18. ^ Jehl, Douglas (2002-02-25). "A NATION CHALLENGED: THE SUSPECTS; Death of Reporter Puts Focus On Pakistan Intelligence Unit". New York Times. 
  19. ^ Mayer, Jane, "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals", 2008. p. 271
  20. ^ Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon. "The Age of Sacred Terror", 2002
  21. ^ Risen, James. "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration", 2006
  22. ^ CNN Transcript ""Suspected Mastermind of Pearl Killing Arrested"". Retrieved 2006-06-29.  February 12, 2002.
  23. ^ Wright, Abi. Committee to Protect Journalists, May 2006. ""Heading into Danger."". Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  24. ^ Transcript: Bin Laden determined to Strike in US, Saturday April 10, 2004
  25. ^ Andy Worthington The Guantanamo Files Pluto Press, 2007
  26. ^ Tim McGirk, Anatomy of a Raid TIME Magazine, April 8, 2002
  27. ^ John Burns, A NATION CHALLENGED: THE FUGITIVES, In Pakistan’s Interior, A Troubling Victory in Hunt for Al Qaeda New York Times, April 14, 2002
  28. ^ Anti-terror raids yield bonanza for U.S. intelligence Seattle Times, April 2, 2002
  29. ^ "Ramzi Binalshibh: al-Qaeda suspect". BBC. September 14, 2002. 
  30. ^ Shahzad, Syed Saleem (October 30, 2002), "A chilling inheritance of terror", Asia Times, 
  31. ^ Shane, Scott (June 22, 2008), "Inside a 9/11 Mastermind’s Interrogation", New York Times, 
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Further reading

  • Ayub, Muhammad (2005), An Army, Its Role and Rule: A History of the Pakistan Army from Independence to Kargil from 1947–1999, Pittsburgh: RoseDog Books, ISBN 0805995943 .
  • Jan, Abid Ullah (2006), From BCCI to ISI: The Saga of Entrapment Continues, Ottawa: Pragmatic Publishing, ISBN 0973368764 .
  • Yousaf, Mohammad; Adkin, Mark (2001), Afghanistan the Bear Trap: The Defeat of a Superpower, Barnsley: Leo Cooper, ISBN 0850528607 .
  • Coll, Steve (2004), Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, New York: Penguin Press, ISBN 1594200076 .
  • Henderson, Robert D'A (2003), Brassey's International Intelligence Yearbook, Dulles, VA: Brassey's, ISBN 1574885502 .
  • Schneider, Jerrold E.; Chari, P. R.; Cheema, Pervaiz Iqbal; Cohen, Stephen Phillip (2003), Perception, Politics and Security in South Asia: The Compound Crisis in 1990, London: Routledge, ISBN 041530797X .
  • Crile, George (2003), Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History, New York: Grove Press, ISBN 0802141242 .
  • Todd, Paul; Bloch, Jonathan (2003), Global Intelligence : The World's Secret Services Today, Dhaka: University Press, ISBN 1842771132 .
  • Bamford, James (2004), A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies, New York: Doubleday, ISBN 0385506724 .

External links


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