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Mumbai exposed fruits of "previous ISI policy to create Lashkar-e-Taiba": WikiLeaks

December 2, 2010 - Islamabad

Pakistan's intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) created terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and the spy agency, along with the Pakistan Army, still has its primary focus on India instead of the militancy concentrated on the Pak-Afghan border, a February 2009 cable unveiled by WikiLeaks has revealed.

"President Zardari and PM Gilani recognize Pakistan's greatest threat has shifted from India to militancy concentrated on the Pak-Afghan border but is spreading to NWFP and beyond. The Army and ISI, however, have not turned that corner," said a leaked cable, which was classified as 'confidential' by the then US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson.

"We should press the GOP on the need to stop using militant/tribal proxies as foreign policy tools. It is now counterproductive to Pakistan's own interests and directly conflicts with USG objectives in Afghanistan-where Haqqani's network is killing American soldiers and Afghan civilians-and the region-where Mumbai exposed the fruits of previous ISI policy to create Lashkar-e-Taiba and still threatens potential conflict between nuclear powers," it said.

"However, we should preface this conversation with a pledge to open a new page in relations. Chief of Army Staff General Kayani, who headed ISI from 2004-2007, in particular wants to avoid a reckoning with the past, and we will not shift Pakistani military/ISI policy without his support," it added.

The cable also said that given the recent events in Swat, the Army needs to decide if it is "truly prepared to commit the troops and suffer the casualties required to win and accept the training needed to shift from a conventional war with India to a COIN-based strategy along the Pak-Afghan border. We should probe the team for what Pakistan needs from India to enable it to redeploy badly-needed Pakistani forces from its eastern to its western border."

The leaked cable also expressed the fear that terrorists "will exploit either weak civilian government or a return to military rule that lacks popular legitimacy", adding that the US should, therefore, "help the Zardari/Gilani government complete its full five-year term in office."

"We can work with Nawaz Sharif if he wins the next election, but Zardari is our best ally in Pakistan right now, and U.S. interests are best served by preventing another cycle of military rule," the cable added.


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