ISI Creates Chaos In Kashmir - Admiral Mullen
Admiral Michael Mullen
Admiral Mullen, the top most US military official said that Pakistan's spy agency, ISI, has been "fomenting chaos" in Kashmir and advised Islamabad to restrain it.
"I believe that in the long run the ISI has to change its strategic thrust which has been to foment chaotic activity, you know, in its border countries. And I think in the long run ... and that has been a Pakistan view to its own survival and its own security. And I think in the long run that's got to change," the US' chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Admiral Michael Mullen told the Al Jazeera news channel in an extensive interview.
Mullen said: "What I mean is that they have clearly focused on support of ... historically of militant organisations both east and west. I mean that's been a focus of theirs in Kashmir historically as well as in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). And I think ... that fundamentally has to change."
"And there are discussions which have been ongoing in respect to that and the leadership recognises that, and there is a big challenge dealing with that, based on what their history is and what they need to do for the future."
Asked to comment on "the close - and some people say too close - relationship between the ISI and the Taliban", Mullen replied: "Well, one of the things I have learned in my frequent visits to Pakistan over the last year - I've been there almost a dozen times - is again that it is another extraordinarily complex relationship. And it's one that I've spoken very publicly about."
He also admitted: "And yet the ISI has also served ... some very positive intelligence needs both in the country and certainly between our two countries. So, I think it's something we keep discussing, keep looking at. In the long run, it's about the security for Pakistan and better security in the region for both those countries."
Mullen replied in the affirmative when asked if he believed the Al Qaeda leadership, including Osama bin Laden, is in Pakistan.
He added that the terror network Al Qaeda was "at the top of the list" of his priorities and threats around the world.
While Mullen knows that Al Qaeda is based in FATA, the US troops are not in the area "because FATA is in Pakistan and Pakistan is a sovereign country and we don't go into sovereign countries."
Reminded of the examples of Iraq and Afghanistan, he said: "And we don't go into sovereign countries unless we're invited in .... Afghanistan was a country from which the Al Qaeda leadership struck us and we responded."