Former ISI chief linked to banned al Qaeda WMD advisory group

A former leader of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency has been implicated as serving on the board of a proscribed non-governmental organization that advised al Qaeda and the Taliban on the development of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.

Lieutenant General (Retired) Hamid Gul served on the board of the Umma Tameer-E-Nau, an organization founded by Pakistani nuclear scientists and industrialists, according to a secret dossier that the United States has put together to present to the United Nations Security Council, The News reported. Gul has also been implicated in supporting the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, and other extremist groups.

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.

The Umma Tameer-E-Nau “was founded by Pakistani nuclear scientists with close ties to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban,” the US government stated in December 2001 after blocking the group’s finances under Executive Order 13224. Three of the group’s directors – two Pakistani nuclear scientists and an industrialist – were also proscribed under the executive order.

The group has been directly linked to the WAFA Humanitarian Organization and Al Rashid Trust, “two other non-governmental organizations with ties to al Qaeda that were designated on September 23, 2001 as supporters of terrorism under Executive Order 13224.”

WAFA, a charitable front funded by a Saudi businessman, had offices in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. The group is run by al Qaeda and used to funnel money to the terror group. Al Rashid operates 21 offices in Pakistan and openly supports the Taliban and calls for jihad against the West.

The Umma Tameer-E-Nau’s founders have “close ties to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban,” the US government stated. “During repeated UTN visits to Afghanistan, UTN directors and members have met with Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda leaders, and Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, and discussed the development of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.”

Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood, the group’s founder, served as Pakistan’s Director for Nuclear Power at the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission. He also directed the Khushab nuclear plant which produces plutonium for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Abdul Majeed, a board member, was a senior official at the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission.

US charges against Gul

The US government claims Gul “maintained extensive contacts over the years with Taliban and al Qaeda operatives located in Pakistan, providing financial support and encouragement to these groups,” The News reported. He has provided “general, over-arching guidance to the Taliban leadership on operational activities in Afghanistan.”

Gul has maintained direct contact with the Pakistani Taliban and Baitullah Mehsud, the group’s leader, as well as with Siraj Haqqani, the powerful warlord in North Waziristan and eastern Afghanistan.

According to the report, Gul has helped with “spotting, assessing, and recruiting young men from various Pakistani Madrassas for training in eventual attacks against US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.” He also helped establish terror training camps and appointed the leader of one of the camps.

Gul also is involved with financing a “Kabul-based criminal group” that kidnapped foreigners and “sold weapons and explosives to the Taliban and acted as travel facilitators for Taliban members in Afghanistan.” The criminal group is the notorious D-Company, the mafia-terror outfit run by wanted South Asian don Dawood Ibrahim, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

US targets Pakistan’s shadow command

In the wake of the Nov. 26 Mumbai, India terror siege, the US has stepped up the pressure on the Pakistani government to purge the military and intelligence services of al Qaeda and Taliban supporters and sympathizers. The Indian government and US officials have directly implicated the ISI and military-backed Lashkar-e-Taiba as being behind the 62 hour-long-assault by a team of trained terrorists that shut down India’s financial hub.

Late last week, news that the US is planning to approach the United Nations Security Council to have several senior ISI and military leaders added to the UN list of terrorists. The move would block their internationals finances as well as add them to INTERPOL’s list of wanted individuals.

Included on the list of former Pakistani intelligence officers being submitted to the UNSC are former ISI officials Hamid Gul, Javid Nasir, and Zahirul Islam Abbasi, as well as Aslam Beg, a senior Army officer. The US is also considering adding Khalid Khawaja, a former Squadron Commander in the Air Force, and Brigadier Ijaz Shah, the former Director of Intelligence Bureau. Khawaja has aided al Qaeda members that sheltered in Pakistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2002, while Shah has been implicated in the death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

For more on the ISI’s involvement with Pakistani terror groups, see

Pakistan’s Jihad

For more on Gul, Nasir, Abbasi, and, Beg, see:

US moves to declare former Pakistani officers international terrorists

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Mark Montgomery says:

    This is a good reason to expand the war from Afghanistan on into Pakistan, because the ISI is obviously in collusion with al Quaeda and the Taliban. If we don’t move into Pakistan and secure all their nuclear weapons then one of these days Tel Aviv or New York City is going to be incinerated by a Pakistani nuclear weapon. Every Muslim sees the Pakastani bomb as the Muslim bomb. It’s time to act, I only hope we move soon enough. Mark Montgomery [email protected]

  • DougS says:

    I saw Hamid Gul interviewed on a TV documentary once. He’s an alarming character – not just for what he believes, or for his position, but because he’s smooth. He doesn’t look or sound like a jihadi; he’s not a hick like Mullah Omar, and he doesn’t have Osama’s scary-crazy look in his eye. He wouldn’t look out of place at a meet and greet of the elite in Islamabad. He knows how to make himself sound and seem reasonable, even when he’s articulating extreme positions. A Saurman for that time and place, as it were.

  • KHALID kHAWAJA says:

    There seem to be a lot of dis- information in this article, I personally know that General Hamid Gul has nothing to do with any Al Qaida and Taliban. There were no Taliban when he was the DG.ISI. and he never had any role in helping to facilitate the rise of the Taliban. These were American government and Benazir government through Naseerullah Babar and Col.Imam who supported the rise of Taliban against the war lords specially Hikmat Yar.
    During his tenure of ISI he never met or communicated with Usama Bin Laden or anf the Arab Mujahidins. He was known to be having a soft cornor for Hikmat Yar there fore Taliban did not much approve of him.
    I do not know why the west is creating the fuss about the nukes. This 70 years old technology and can be made ot used by the governments, there is no question of it being used by any of the group. there government should be scared of the hatered which they are creating in the hearts of the muslim youth and that can result in using some electronic bomb or elctro magnetic pulse, which is cheap and latest technology.
    All the allegations of his involvement in any practical support to any militants is absolutely baseless and nobody can prove anything as it is false.
    Javed Nasir is a known Tablighi and he has no Jehadi feelings and not known to be having any contact what soever with any millitant activity. Zahirul Islam Abbasi was never in ISI.
    I was in ISI 20 years back, of course I did help and still helping the families of the victims of the cruel governments.
    The problem is that Americand Indians and Israelies wants target ISI and there knowlege is so poor that they even do not know the names whom to blame and they just name the peopel whose names come in the media.
    I am available here and sicuss these issues on this forum or any other forum anybody likes to discuss.

  • Solomon2 says:

    There are just too many hints and pointers that the ISI is involved, both in the training of the beasts, but in their operations. Don’t forget there has been a “cooperation” pact between Indian & Pakistani intel services for over a year. The Indians say (and the Pakistanis do not deny) that whenever the Indians told their Pakistani counterparts something, in every case the Pakistanis would return to answer that there were no leads and they had come up empty. But it’s foolish to assume that the Indians didn’t include a couple of control tests in with their requests – things they knew the Pakistanis knew already, if only because the Indians themselves, through their agents, had provided Pak intelligence with the answers.
    In short, the Indians have known that their Pakistani counterparts have been lying for some time.
    It could still be a “rogue” element in the ISI, you can’t easily tell in some intelligence organizations what is authorized and what is not. Even the instruments themselves (the terrorists) might not know. What is clear is that a history needs to be drawn up and lines of accountability established, so the Pakistani government knows what is going on inside the ISI, and prosecutions arranged for deviants, and something like the Church Committee of the 1970s to reduce the ISI’s power.
    Unless, of course, there aren’t any deviants or rogues, in which case what other conclusion can be drawn but that the Pakistani government is complicit?

  • KHALID kHAWAJA says:

    I am open to the discussion, but what do you mean by moderate and devout muslim.

  • tyrone says:

    Fascinating comments, especially the radically different viewpoint 😉 . I find Bill’s article alarming and an eye-opener. I had not known how close the Al Qaeda group was to various WMD politicos, spooks, and scientists until now. There were hints, but this makes it pretty clear that there is likely a pipeline of info. The question is how wide and deep is that pipeline and how much material support might be given. Not sure I agree that moving into Pakistan militarily is the right idea. It seems an open question – with far better informed folks in the US Govt (and other govts worldwide) pondering what to do. Let us hope that the good guys in Pakistan’s govt can keep things under control. Pakistan is both an Islamic State and a good friend to the US. The question is: can the radicals and militants be defeated by separating them from the mainline Pakistani’s who are not so radical. It is a tough nut because the beginnings of the radicalization is in the madrassas and that is a long term problem (even changing the culture there now will result in a generation before the new graduates are not radicals). The short term problem is clear from Bill’s excellent reporting.

  • Solomon2 says:

    Mr. Khawaja, you have a problem in that you are or have been a member of an organization, the ISI, which no one can be sure is an ally, enemy, or neutral, one that is continually suspected of lying in its own interests. Don’t you think you have to find some way to establish not just your credibility but your veracity to the people you are trying to convince?

  • Brian says:

    Khalid Khawaja, you (or so other person with that name) have quite a record for supporting Jihad and for seeking press attention. I think you should be ignored because you are either a jihadist or you are an attention seeker who will write or say anything just to get people to pay attention to you.
    On Hamid Gul, I though it was interesting that he was interviewed recently on National Geographic’s Inside AQ program. He was presented (as he appears) as a reasonable, urbane former high ranking Pakistani, who also is convinced that the United States is doing everything wrong in attacking AQ. Some wonder – since, it appears, he is squarely aligned with our implacable foes. Nothing like asking the enemy what he thinks of your tactics and presenting his answer as if it is the unbiased truth.

  • Gringo says:

    that dutch guy:
    It’s just sick to see how we started a war with Iraq about nothing,
    Apparently you never bothered to read the Iraq War Resolution of October 2002.

  • GME says:

    Only LWJ and a few brave journalists with a mission have the guts to write these reports. If we do win this war, you guys will be among the first to be honored by grateful citizens.
    If all hell breaks loose in Pakistan, CNN, Fox News, CBS, and the rest will be there with their camera crews to record the mayhem and deaths. More reports full of gruesome facts but lacking depth will make it to U.S. television screens. The networks will trot out the “military experts” to explain what it all means.
    But the work of LWJ challenges the mainstream press to report truth, not body counts. Who was behind the Mumbai attacks? Who is behind these recent attacks on NATO convoys? Where is bin Laden hiding, or more accurately, who is sheltering him and his followers? What must we do to win this war?
    The time has come for truth-telling. We’ve been shown things behind layers of deception: officials hiding corruption, terrorists gaming the press to serve its propaganda goals, allies making excuses for inaction, our military playing their cards close to the chest to mask tactics and strategies (thank God!). Even the press has its game: making the news juicy to keep viewers salivating for better rates on car insurance.. You get the idea. Everyone is gaming everything having to do with this war.
    LWJ is my first news source on this war. Then I check out the others. Some, such as the British and Australian press, do a good job. The rest are near worthless for information.

  • TimSN says:

    Some of the best journalism yet on the LWJ. Congrats to Bill and the entire LWJ staff for such outstanding reporting on Hamid Gul, the ISI and the “Pakistan’s Jihad”.
    Looks like the LWJ may have rattled the cage with these reports, drawing the attention, if true, Khalid Khawaja a former ISI member.
    Readers and commenters, I suggest, if you have not done so yet, we take our support for the LWJ to the next level, by donating. I know I am.

  • tyrone says:

    For those who missed it, as I initially did, the person known as KHALID kHAWAJA is also mentioned in the original article in the LWJ under which these very comments are posted. He is mentioned as one who might be included in the list of names to presented to the UN Security Council to be added as a known terrorist (and thus wanted by Interpol). Perhaps he has begun here to attempt to make his own defense (indirectly). There are surely potentially severe consequences to being on such a list (restriction of movement, no income from publishing, locked up bank accounts, and, of course, an international warrant for one’s arrest).

  • Brian says:

    Mr. Khawaja wrote:
    “I am available here and sicuss these issues on this forum or any other forum anybody likes to discuss”.
    Based on the what I have read about you the only thing I would like to discuss with you is your current address. Perhaps Bill can forward it to the folks who prepare the drone missile strikes in Pakistan.

  • Render says:

    I don’t think Brian has any Hellfire Predators at his disposal at the moment.
    But I’m sure that at least some of LWJ’s other readers might. Why don’t you go ahead and post that address? We’ll let them confirm or deny.

  • Render says:

    I think we already have those addresses.
    What’s Khawaja and Gul’s addresses?
    Javid Nasir, Zahirul Islam Abbasi, Aslam Beg, and Brigadier Ijaz Shah are also on that list.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    Gul is GUILTY. Maybe he will have a massive coronary soon.

  • Solomon2 says:

    That’s not funny. Too many prominent Pakistanis have died from coronaries.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    Wat did Benazir Bhutto die of? It sure was not a heart attack. Maybe Gul is up to his neck in that one. This man is an enemy of the US. One way or another, he must be neutralized. Lets see if Zadari has the juice to put him on a plane to the US. I doubt it.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    The comments above by “khalid” are ludicrous. I almost fell over laughing, coz there is FOOTAGE of Gul sitting in at T-ban meetings. So, you sir or either a liar, or very ignorant of the facts that scream his guilt. Have a nice day.

  • mumbaikar says:

    People of Pakistan will pay a huge price for their military leaders’ support of terrorism to play proxy war with India. Dawood Ibrahim receives protection because his network knows information about ISI and CIA operatives and informants. Taking him out alone will expose this network. I hope US and Pakistan realize their folly and pull support for collaboration with these shady characters. India will end up developing more intelligence assets to combat this menace. This development only ends up creating support for parallel economies and more underground operations. Talk about unintended consequences.


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