NEW YORK: The record number of terror attacks in Pakistan last year was due to the ISI losing control over militants it had nurtured since 1980s as a proxy force against India and Afghanistan, a media report claimed here on Tuesday.
The militants turned against their former handlers after President Pervez Musharraf publicly allied Pakistan with the Bush administration soon after the September 11 terror attack in the US, ‘The New York Times’ quoted two former senior ISI officials as saying.
“We could not control them. We indoctrinated them and told them, ‘You will go to heaven. You cannot turn it around so suddenly’,” a former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.
Joining with other extremist groups, these forces have helped militants carry out a record number of suicide attacks last year, including some against prominent political figures, possibly on former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming procession in October, the officials said.
The officials were interviewed before the assassination of Bhutto on December 27. Since then, the government has said that Pakistani militants linked to Al-Qaida are the foremost suspects in her killing. Her supporters have accused the government of a hidden hand in the attack.
Another former senior intelligence official alleged that dozens of ISI officers who trained militants had come to sympathise with their cause and had to be expelled from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
He said three purges had taken place since the late 1980s and included the removal of three ISI directors suspected of being sympathetic to the militants.