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"Reform ISI" -- U.S. Diplomat for South Asia PDF Print
Written by Daily Times   
Wednesday, 17 September 2008 00:00
* Richard Boucher says Pakistani govt more likely to act as problem more acute than ever
* Praises ‘determination’ shown by Pakistani troops in Bajaur and Swat
[From Pakistan's Daily Times]

WASHINGTON: The Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) needs reform but there is no indication this is happening yet, the top US diplomat for South Asia said on Monday.

“It has to be done,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher said of revamping the ISI.

Asked if he had seen signs of reform, he told Reuters, “No, I don’t have anything in particular I would point to right now.”

Despite its help in fighting Al Qaeda, the ISI is viewed with deep suspicion by US for retaining links to the Taliban.

Pakistan’s new government led by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani tried to rein in the ISI in July by placing it under the Interior Ministry’s control, only to reverse course within days in an embarrassing flip-flop.

Acute problems: Asked why the new Pakistani government was more likely to act than under its predecessor, General (r) Pervez Musharraf, Boucher replied, “It’s sad to say, but the problem has become more and more acute.”

Pointing to growing militant violence inside Pakistan, Boucher said, “Increasingly, the problem is not seen as doing what the US wants but doing what is necessary for the future of Pakistan.”

Pakistani forces have intensified offensives in Bajaur and Swat in recent days and more than 150 Taliban have been killed, according to Pakistani security officials.

Determination: Boucher praised the recent push, saying, “I think they have really shown a lot of determination, particularly in the last month or two.”

He said combating Taliban and Al Qaeda in the Tribal Areas went beyond reforming the ISI and required greater co-ordination among Pakistani agencies and between Islamabad and Washington.

“The whole Pakistani state apparatus, the politicians, the security, economic development folks, is it properly lined up towards a single goal, and that’s beating the terrorists and stabilising Pakistan?” Boucher said.

“As long as you have organisations, or pieces of organisations, that work in different directions, then it’s harder for the government to accomplish that goal,” he said. reuters Article  Manager module by by George! Software.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 September 2010 02:20


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