US wants change in ISI’s ’strategic approach’ (Lead)

July 24th, 2010 - 12:45 am ICT by IANS  

Richard Holbrooke New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The US Friday said the “strategic approach” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) “fundamentally” needed to be changed as a lot was not known about the spy agency and its links.
“I believe that the strategic approach, the overall strategic approach of the ISI needs to be fundamentally changed. That is the concern I raised over security many times. There’s a lot I know about the ISI and there is a lot I don’t know about the ISI,” said Admiral Michael Mullen, the visiting chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, America’s top-most military commander.

Mullen’s remarks to a select group of journalists about the ISI came a day after US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke described as “a problem” the links between ISI and the Taliban, a nexus highlighted as dangerous by New Delhi many times.

The admiral said there was “certainly concern with the links the ISI has”.

“There is a lot about ISI that my intelligence organisations don’t know as well. This is an issue in every single engagement that the American leadership has with Pakistan, we address this very specifically,” he added.

He said the spy agency, which according to Indian officials had a role in the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai, was operating within Pakistan in a manner believed to be in their national interest.

He said Pakistan was “an extraordinarily complex country” with the military and ISI being a part of it and that the US believes with inputs from certain elements it was “very much under control” of the Pakistani government.

Mullen said the US-led forces in Afghanistan were “exerting enormous pressure and action against the Taliban across the board”.

The Pakistan-backed Haqqani terror network, he said, “is an important issue and I have raised it with the Pakistani leadership. Anyway these are lethal networks and the Pakistani leadership is aware of that”.

He said the US welcomed India, a “leader in the region”, in Afghanistan for investment.

“We welcome India’s efforts (in Afghanistan) and recognise India is a leader in this region,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Mullen called on his Indian counterpart and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik.

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