With its obsession with India, Pak digging its own grave: US lawmaker

Last Updated : 27 July 2010, 04:13 IST

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''The ISI's attempt to distinguish good from bad militants will spin out of control. With its obsession with India, Pakistan is digging its own grave,'' Congressman Ed Royce said  in the wake of WikiLeaks revelations.

"I've been speaking about the destructive role of Pakistan's ISI for many, many years. I've read this headline before," Royce, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, said when asked about the WikiLeaks leakage which revealed that ISI continues to help and assist al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Reacting to the WikiLeaks posting of more than 92,000 classified documents on the war in Afghanistan, several Congressmen condemned the release of such secret documents but expressed concern over the continued links between ISI and the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

"These leaked documents, while troubling, appear to support what I was asserting for years: the war in Afghanistan was not going well, and we needed a real strategy for success," Senator Ike Skelton, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.

"These leaked reports pre-date our new strategy in Afghanistan and should not be used as a measure of success or a determining factor in our continued mission there," he said.

The publication of highly-classified documents was deeply troubling and a serious breach of national security, Senator John McCain said, adding the source of the leak within the US government should face the full penalties of the law.

"Some of these documents reinforce a longstanding concern of mine about the supporting role of some Pakistani officials in the Afghan insurgency," Senator Carl Levin said.

Levin said he and Senator Jack Reed, during their recent visit to Islamabad, had strongly urged officials to take forceful action against militant networks using Pakistan as a base to attack Afghanistan and American troops.

"The materials – which cover the period from 2004 to 2009 – reflect the reality, recognised by everyone, that the insurgency was gaining momentum during these years while our coalition was losing ground," Senator Joe Lieberman said in a statement.

"We should give General Petraeus and our troops on the ground the time and support they need to succeed. Although we know that the path ahead is difficult, we also know that the consequences for our national security will be catastrophic if we abandon this effort and allow the Taliban and their allies to regain a safe haven in Afghanistan. That is the path back to 9/11," Lieberman said.

In particular, the documents highlight a fundamental strategic problem, which is that elements of the Pakistani security services have been complicit in the insurgency, Senator Russ Feingold said.

"That, combined with competing agendas within the Afghan security forces, make it clear that there is no military solution in Afghanistan."

On February 2, during an open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Feingold had asked the then Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair about Pakistan's "continued support to militant proxies and about the assistance provided by some of those groups to al-Qaeda".

Senator Kit Bond, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it is shocking that any American, much less someone in the Pentagon, would betray his country and possibly put soldiers at risk by leaking information on the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

"The damage to our national security caused by leaks like this won't stop until we see more perpetrators in orange jump suits," he added.

Published 27 July 2010, 04:13 IST

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