Monday, July 26, 2010

Pakistan Denounces U.S. Intel Leaks As 'Skewed'

Pakistan on July 26 denounced leaked U.S. intelligence reports accusing its premier spy agency of supporting Taliban insurgents as "skewed" and inconsistent with realities on the ground.

Tens of thousands of documents dating from 2004 to 2009 were released by whistle-blowers' website WikiLeaks to the New York Times, Britain's Guardian newspaper and Germany's Der Spiegel weekly.

They carry allegations that Iran is providing money and arms to Taliban and detail how widespread corruption is hampering a war now in its ninth year.

"These are far-fetched and skewed reports, evidently inconsistent with ground realities," Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said.

"If anything these betray the lack of understanding of the complexities involved."

The leaks reportedly link the ISI, Pakistan's secret service, to an assassination plot on Afghan President Hamid Karzai - which never got off the ground - attacks on NATO warplanes, a plot to poison the beer supply of Western troops and the 2008 Indian embassy bombing.

In April 2007, for instance, the Guardian said the ISI allegedly sent 1,000 motorbikes to Jalaluddin Haqqani, head of the Taliban and al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network based in Pakistan, to carry out suicide attacks in Afghanistan.

Other reports claimed the ISI and insurgents planned to buy alcohol to mix with poison and use against NATO and Afghan security forces; and accused the ISI of deploying children as suicide bombers.

Another inflammatory report said the spy agency offered 15,000 to 30,000 dollars for the assassination of road workers from India - Pakistan's arch rival whose interests in Afghanistan have rung alarm bells in Islamabad.

Pakistan last year launched major operations against Taliban threatening its own people, although U.S. officials have long called for direct action on the Haqqanis and Afghan Taliban.

"Pakistan's constructive and positive role in Afghanistan cannot be blighted by such self-serving and baseless reports," Basit added.

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