US moves to declare former Pakistani officers international terrorists
The US government is seeking to add several former Pakistani intelligence officers to the United Nations' list of international terrorists, The News reported. A senior US intelligence official familiar with the effort to rein in Pakistan's intelligence service confirmed to The Long War Journal the US wants the United Nations Security Council to designate several senior former officers of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency as international terrorists.
Included on the list of former Pakistani intelligence officers being submitted to the UNSC are Hamid Gul, Javid Nasir, and Zahirul Islam Abbasi, as well as Aslam Beg, a senior Army officer, the intelligence official said.
The placement of the former Pakistani officers on the United Nations list would open their international accounts up to scrutiny and eventual seizure, the US official said. "We could do some major damage" to the officers' "slush funds" in international bank accounts. The US will also seek to place the officers on INTERPOL's wanted list.
News of the US move broke after Gul spoke to the Pakistani press about being added to the list. Gul "was informed of this by a highly responsible person, who had personally seen the written US request," The News reported.
The US intelligence official expressed concern that Gul still has access to such sensitive information. Gul's knowledge of the effort "is indicative that he still has friends in very high places."
According to The News, Gul said "the government should immediately move to protect the ISI from this indirect attack from Washington. He said the United States and some other Western nations were against him for the simple reason that he did not support their war on terror which, he said, was based on Washington's greed for energy."
Gul's message is calculated to rally support within Pakistan's intelligence community, the US official said. "He is playing to a very particular crowd there, to convince people in the ISI that those against him are also against them."
Both the United States and India have accused the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani-based terror group backed by the ISI, of conducting last week's 62-hour assault on Mumbai that resulted in more than 180 Indians and foreigners killed and more than 300 wounded. Indian police captured a terrorist who admitted to training inside camps Pakistan and to being a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba.
While there have been no direct links between the Mumbai attackers and the Pakistani government, India has accused the Pakistani government of allowing numerous groups to operate on its soil. India has demanded the Pakistani government hand over about 20 wanted terror leaders and operatives, including Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Elements of the Pakistani state may have aided in the training of the Mumbai terrorists and the execution of the operation. The captured terrorist claimed members of the Pakistani Navy aided in his training, while Dawood Ibrahim, the ISI-backed mafia don, provided logistical support. Indian intelligence sources told PTI that the country has "proof that the Inter Services Intelligence was involved in planning the Mumbai terror attacks and training the terrorists." The unconfirmed report stated "the names of trainers and the places where meticulous training took place are also known to the government." US intelligence has additional information, according to the report.
Just this year, the ISI was directly implicated in the suicide attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. Fifty-four people, including an Indian defense attaché, were killed in the July 7 bombing. The Indian embassy bombing was carried out by the Haqqani Network, with the direct backing of the ISI, The US confronted the Pakistani government with evidence of the ISI's involvement in August. Within two months after the US confrontation with Pakistan, Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj, the Director of the ISI, was relieved of his command.
Background on Gul, Nasir, Abbasi, and Beg
The four senior retired Pakistani officers put forth to be sanctioned by the United Nations have a long history of dealing with extremist groups, and particularly al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Kashmiri terror groups.
Lieutenant General (Retired) Hamid Gul served as the chief of the ISI from 1987 to 1989. Gul is known as the Godfather of the Taliban for his efforts to organize the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, and the helping to facilitate the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s. Gul supports the terrorist insurgency in India-occupied Kashmir and opposes the US-led effort to defeat Islamic extremism.
"God will destroy the US in Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever it will try to go from there," Gul said in August 2003. "The Muslim world must stand united to confront the U.S. in its so-called War on Terrorism, which is in reality a war against Muslims. Let's destroy America wherever its troops are trapped." Gul openly admits he maintains contacts with the Taliban and other extremist groups.
Lieutenant General (Retired) Javid Nasir commanded the ISI from 1992 to May 1993. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Nasir helped unite the warring mujahideen factions and establish a government. Nasir, and avowed Islamist, provided support to terrorist movements throughout South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Nasir, along with Gul, kept in close contact with Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.
Major General (Retired) Zahirul Islam Abbasi was a senior officer in the ISI during the Afghan war and served as a senior military commander. In 1995, he led a failed coup against Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He planned to kill the entire senior leadership of the Army command. Abbasi was implicated in the plot along with Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the leader of the radical Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, an al Qaeda and Taliban-linked group. Akhtar later testified against Abbasi, who was then sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released by Pervez Musharraf after serving just four.
General (Retired) Mirza Aslam Beg served as Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army after the mysterious death of General Muhammad Zia ul Haq in 1998. Beg is known to profess sympathy for the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Kashmir terror groups. He has openly bragged that foreigners train in Afghanistan and fight in Kashmir. Beg, along with Gul, purportedly met with Osama bin Laden and more than 300 jihadi leaders at Darul Uloom Haqqania Islamic conference held in Peshawar in January 2001.