“Balochistan Is the ISI’s newest priority”
German political scientist Hein Kiessling lived in Pakistan between 1989 and 2002. The relationships he built in that time earned him unfettered access to the Pakistani army. His new book, Faith, Unity, Discipline: The ISI of Pakistan, draws on that to pr
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 was, you write, the making of the ISI... A. Q.
The ISI knew Osama bin Laden (OBL) was in Abbottabad? Q. Why did the ISI target Mumbai? A.
They wanted to bring some movement on the Kashmir issue; perhaps teach India a lesson. A.
General Musharraf knew OBL was there. And General Kayani (former Chief of Army Staff) certainly knew. Perhaps two other people within the ISI knew. I believe OBL was sold for the $25 million bounty. But the Pakistan army couldn’t just hand him over to the Americans, nor could they live with being the killers of the Al Qaeda icon. Q. What are the ISI’s new priorities? A.
Not Afghanistan, not Kashmir. It’s Balochistan. This is because the Chinese have demanded security for their nationals working on the economic corridor. Daesh, or ISIS, is another priority because it has entered Afghanistan. The ISI, I feel, hasn’t made up its mind about Daesh—I asked them in 2015, and still haven’t got a response. Q.
Did the Pakistan army know about the 26/11 Mumbai attacks? A. An operation like Mumbai—that needed —Sandeep Unnithan
Yes, it transformed the ISI from an obscure outfit into what it is today. The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988 was the ISI’s first big success. After 9/11, the ISI was restructured—it rebirthed the Taliban in 2004. I would rate it as one of the best intelligence agencies in Asia, comparable even to Mossad. expertise, money and time to prepare—could not have been done without the knowledge of the service’s leadership. Musharraf must have given his nod to the operation.