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ISI engaged in 'strategic hedging' in Afghanistan: Pentagon

ISI engaged in 'strategic hedging' in Afghanistan: Pentagon

Author: PTI
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 20, 2009.
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/177230/ISI-engaged-in-strategic-hedging-in-Afghanistan-Pentagon.html

Accusing the ISI of engaging in "strategic hedging" and "playing both sides" in Afghanistan, top Pentagon officials have said that getting rid of the al-Qaeda "safe haven" in Pakistan is the "top priority" for the US to win the war against terrorism
in the region.

The Pakistani intelligence agency is "playing both sides", US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said, adding that though Islamabad has committed itself to be part of the US-led war against terrorism in the region, it continues to maintain links with the extremist elements.

"Look, their maintaining of contact with this group, in my view, is a strategic hedge," Gates told the CBS news responding to a question that parts of Pakistan's ISI was still supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

"They (Pakistanis) are not sure who's going to win in Afghanistan. They're not sure what's going to happen along that border area. So to a certain extent they play both sides," Gates said.

This is not for the first time that a top US leader has made such an observation.

US leaders in the past several months have openly expressed concern that the Pakistan Army, especially its ISI, has been maintaining contacts with the Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders and providing them support against the US-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) in Afghanistan.

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