Pakistani journalist aids in murder of ISI officer

Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, who is known to be close to the various terror groups in Pakistan and the region, including al Qaeda, appears to have been caught on tape providing information to the Taliban that led to the death of Khalid Khawaja, who also had ties to terror groups in the region. Khawaja was later executed by a group that calls itself the Asian Tigers. From Daily Times:

Whatever the source may be, it is clear that one of the voices on the tape is Mir’s, a fact corroborated by his allusions to events such as his sacking from the daily Ausaf. In the tape, the person on the other end asks Mir for information on Khalid Khawaja. The content of the conversation suggests that this call was made before Khawaja’s execution earlier this month. Mir goes on to detail what he knows about Khawaja’s background, linking him to the CIA, an international network of Qadianis and an American named Mansur Ejaz, who, Mir claims, even offered to solve the Kashmir issue.

At one point, the voice on the other end claims to have abducted Khawaja. Here, Mir volunteers further information linking Khawaja to the Lal Masjid operation, saying that Khawaja and his wife were the ones responsible for the death of Ghazi Rasheed and the humiliating capture of Maulana Abdul Aziz and his family. Mir then urges the man to cross-examine Khawaja about his relationship with Mansur Ejaz, Qadianis and a CIA agent named William Casey.

Daily Times has the full transcript of the conversation, which is reprinted below.

As Daily Times notes, it appears Mir held a grudge against Khawaja, as he believes Khawaja was responsible for having him fired from a Pakistani daily. You can see Mir working hard to convince the person on the other end that Khawaja is working for the CIA. Also, note that the person Mir speaks to said that Khawaja was being held by Tariq Afridi, a known Taliban commander in Darra Adam Khel, and that he will speak directly to Hakeemullah Mehsud. This shows that the so-called ‘Asian Tigers’ are really just a front group for the Pakistani Taliban.

Hamid Mir: Many bombings are being carried out.

Unidentified man: Let’s see. There will be more of them. There are some in the pipeline. What do they (government) say about the operation in Orakzai? Will they stop it or not?

HM: No, they say it would not be stopped, rather they say they will also start an operation in North Waziristan and 40,000 troops will leave in a couple of days.

UM: In North Waziristan?

HM: Yes.

UM: Do you have any report on Khalid Khawaja etc.

HM: They say Khalid Khawaja Saab is in custody of one Azam Afridi in Darrakhel.

UM: Yes, yes Tariq Afridi (correcting HM).

HM: They are in Tariq Afridi’s custody.


HM: Yes.

UM: So, are they men of the government or ISI?

HM: Who?

UM: These, Khalid Khawaja and Colonel Imam.

HM: Khalid Khawaja, according to my opinion, is not an ISI man, rather he is a CIA agent, an American CIA agent and he has links with the Taliban leadership.

UM: Yes, he met with Hakimullah and others when he came here last time.

HM: I personally know that Khalid Khawaja has links not only with CIA but he is also a front man of Mansoor Ijaz who belongs to a very big international network of Qadiyanis. Once he came to me along with Mansoor, who had a briefcase with him, and Khalid Saab told me that Mansoor is a key representative of the US government, so arrange his meeting with Syed Salahuddin, who is a mujahideen leader, and he along with him would resolve the Kashmir issue.

UM: All right.

HM: But I asked him what charm or magic lamp does he posses for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. He said he had links with the Indian government and (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee Jee, which surprised me. I didn’t arrange the meeting, but I asked Mr Salahuddin who said Khalid Khawaja is sending messages that you should directly talk to India and the US on the issue and exclude Pakistan from it.

UM: All right, all right.

HM: After that, Mansoor Ijaz also asked me: Are you with us or not? I said, “I am not with you.” Then he conspired against me and got me sacked from the Daily Ausaf when I was its editor. So, I think Khalid Khawaja not only has links with the CIA but he is also an agent of the Qadiyanis, and I am very sad that he used to go to the Tribal Areas and meet leaders there.

UM: But now, I think, the Taliban have caught him and have demanded $10 million for the journalist.

HM: Do you know what part his (Khalid Khawaja’s) wife played in Lal Masjid?

UM: No, but it was something negative.

HM: It was that Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi Saab – may Allah bless him with a place in heavens. What he told me in his last days was, do you know that he did not completely agree with Maulana Aziz.

UM: Yes, yes.

HM: Mr Abdul Rashid Ghazi wanted to save the students inside the mosque and for that he showed flexibility and said, “I am ready to surrender on the condition that those who are with me will not be arrested and will be released.” But Khalid Khawaja’s wife was pressurised so much by Ume Hassaan that Maulana Abdul Aziz, without asking his brother, came out in a burqa, and Khalid Khawaja was involved in it (call disconnected).

UM: Assalam-o-Alaikum!

HM: Yes,

UM: The call got disconnected.

HM: Ok.

UM: So, what were you saying about his wife?

HM: Yes, I was telling you that his wife pressurised him so much that Ghazi Saab said, “She says we have to fight, just fight for martyrdom.” After that Mr Khalid Khawaja came out of the mosque and his wife also fled, Khalid Khawaja’s wife.

UM: Yes, we heard that she had fled after that.

HM: Yes, she ran away and then Maulana Abdul Aziz also came out in the burqa.

UM: I think, he insisted for that.

HM: Yes, he had done all this. After that Maulana Abdul Aziz was arrested and Mr Abdul Rashid Ghazi telephoned me and said, “Now, I don’t have any option. Now, my family and ulema have been defamed as my brother was arrested in a burqa and presented on Pakistan Television. This is a large stain which can only be removed with my blood.” So, he lived up to his words and sacrificed. So, Khalid Khawaja and his wife, anyone may know or not, they will have to answer before Allah Almighty.

UM: He, recently, came here and met my companions. He was saying, “You can work in Pakistan as we say, if you want to. I can arrange your ‘setting’ with an admiral in Mianwali. So, you should not burn US containers in Pakistan, you can rob them and sell them to a person recommended by us.” He was saying, “We would provide you everything for carrying out activities in Pakistan.”

HM: Do whatever you want to with the containers, burn them or rob them, I have nothing to do with it. But ask him what relationship he has with Mansoor Ijaz and William Casey? William Casey was the chief of CIA.

UM: Right, right.

HM: He (Khawaja) himself has confessed in front me that he had links with William Casey. Ok! Leave William, ask him about the Qadiyanis, because I personally believe that Qadiyanis are worse than infidels, what kind of links does he have with Qadiyanis? What relationship does he have with Mansoor Ijaz? Why does he use his money? Why does he go everywhere with him when he comes to Pakistan? Why does he bring him to the mujahideen?

UM: Yes, he has a son in al Qaeda.

HM: Yes, his son would also be a spy like him.

UM: Yes, I talked to the shaikhs about him. They said they were keeping him on the sidelines.

HM: His biggest betrayal to me was that there was a mujahid, Abdul Rehman Al Canady.

UM: Yes, there was one Canady.

HM: He was martyred in North Waziristan. He came to me with Canady’s wife and a daughter, saying Canady’s son, Karim, is at Rawalpindi’s CMH and is injured and the army had arrested him. He asked me to arrange a meeting between the injured and his mother. I said this is very difficult for me and I can’t do this because already they are all against me. But, he said all that you need to do is to arrange a meeting between a mother and her son. So, I arranged it with a lot of difficulties and sent the woman to Rawalpindi CMH, but when she reached there she took a camera out of her burqa and asked her son to record a message that he is innocent, has no links with anyone and has been kept here illegally. She was arrested there because a nurse saw her and seized the camera from her. But I was held responsible for all of it as they told me that I had sent this woman. It was revealed after her arrest that the woman had a Canadian passport and had visited Canada two months ago. After that I faced a lot of difficulties. The Canadian government released the woman and her daughter and then she went back to Canada. In Toronto, she held a press conference and admitted that she worked for the CIA. Now Khalid Khawaja has a long beard and his wife wears a full veil so people like us, who are involved in worldly affairs and have committed sins, believe that if we will help them, we might be forgotten for our sins. When these kinds of people betray us, we lose confidence on the religion itself.

UM: Absolutely, neither we are wrong nor is the army, but people like him have created the difficulties.

HM: However, if he is somewhere, ask him at least that you used the name of Abdul Rehman Canady, you worked with Mansoor Ijaz, you have worked William Casey. And there is one Javaid Ibrahim Piracha, who has a very big seminary in Kohat.

UM: Yes, yes.

HM: You all know the services of Piracha Saab. So, he fraudulently invited Piracha Saab in Islamabad and told him he wanted to arrange his meeting with a prominent personality. He took him to the US deputy foreign minister at Serena Hotel and said, “He is Mr Piracha and he can arrange your talks with the al Qaeda and Taliban.” Piracha Saab is a well-educated person. I observed that he was betrayed and came out of the room and escaped from there. Then he called me and said, “You were right about him (Khalid Khawaja).”

UM: Right, right. He went to him last time.

HM: Yes, Piracha Saab told me about that. He said, “He came to me and Col Imam was also here and told Col Imam that don’t go anywhere with this guy.” He (Piracha) said, “What can I do if he comes here and I can’t force him out of my house, but you don’t go anywhere with him.” Mr Piracha said Col Imam didn’t want to go with Khalid Khawaja, but he forced him to go with him.

UM: Right, maybe to use as human shield. But Shah Abdul Aziz, that MNA of Kirk, is supporting him a lot. He was meeting everyone here and asking for his release.

HM: He would have fooled Shah Abdul Aziz.

UM: Yes, he was asking people to release him and said you may keep the journalist, whose ransom will be paid to you by him.

HM: Ok! His release depends on them who have kept him, but convey them these three questions that what is your link with Mansoor Ijaz, whose father fled with the atomic secrets of Pakistan. Mansoor Ijaz’s father was an atomic scientist and he fled to the US with the atomic secrets of Pakistan. Once he (Ijaz) offered Benazir Bhutto a quid pro quo deal in 1995 that all the debts of the country will be forgiven, if she recognised Israel. That means he was also an agent of Israel.

UM: Yes, he used to ask my companions to work in Pakistan “as we say”. Actually, the killings of brigadiers in Rawalpindi might have been arranged by him, I think.

HM: It might be possible, but I have been watching this guy for the last 13 or 14 years and he is a suspected man.

UM: OK. Inshallah, I will meet Hakimullah in two or three days and talk to him about all this.

HM: All right

UM: Thank you so much.

HM: Assalam-o-Alaikum!

UM: Assalam-o-Alaikum!

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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  • omar says:

    Its a very dirty game in Pakistan right now. The way this was leaked on pro-ISI websites may indicate that the ISI has decided its time their old friend Hamid Mir offered the ultimate sacrifice for the cause. Poor sod.

  • kp says:

    Context: for those that don’t recognize La Masjid == Red Mosque

    And background on Hamid Mir including a photo with Tony Blair!

    From the tape it’s clear that the Asian Tigers (aka ? but some TTP related org I suspect) that they didn’t know who they had when they detained the three guys. Isn’t “Col Iman” well known to the TTP for all of his exploits? In fact it reveals a bit about the “TTP” (lets say) using other sources to fact check their captives (and perhaps a lack of their own counter-intelligence group). That could be an interesting weakness to exploit (with the help of the Pakistanis).

    The big question is who made this tape: the militants? Why burn a good source who provided good info to them? The ISI or Pakistani government? More likely as they burn a “bad” journalist that they’ve already branded a Taliban supporter.

    One would think the NSA SIGINT would have had this some time ago so I presume the US and UK knew about it. Clearly some part of the TTP are still not worried about counter-SIGINT security. For the CT folks the NSA didn’t release this: they really don’t work that way.

  • Render says:

    At what point does an ISI field agent working with the extremely westernphobic OBL muj group (they refused all western aid) have contact with a head of the CIA who was notorious for putting layers of middlemen between himself and his own field agents?
    William Casey died in 1987, KK was 33 years old at the time.
    Filed under not bloody likely.
    Who has a son in al-Qaeda? KK or Moonsar Ijaz? Or both? The son is also a spy?
    Pakistan has always been a dirty game, from the day of its founding.
    I have neither pity nor mercy for those that want me dead. Call it blowback and I hope it hurts.

  • kp says:

    Must read transcript all they way to the “greetings” before posting. Right at the end … after the “Inshallah” were I stopped reading (it’s boilerplate).

    UM: OK. Inshallah, I will meet Hakimullah in two or three days and talk to him about all this.

    Which confirms Asian Tigers == TTP run by Hakimullah Mesud. Clearly they wanted another ambiguous name to disassociate themselves from this interaction. Did the journalist get his interview with HM? I suspect not.

    UM: He [Khalid Khawaja], recently, came here and met my companions {the TTP?]. He was saying, “You can work in Pakistan as we say, if you want to. I can arrange your ‘setting’ with an admiral in Mianwali. So, you should not burn US containers in Pakistan, you can rob them and sell them to a person recommended by us.”

  • Naresh C. says:

    I am really confused. Are all Pakistanis CIA agents?
    Hamid Mir, who supports Taliban, said Khalid Khwaja was a CIA agent.
    Zaid Hamid, who supports the Pakistani mililtary, had said some time ago that Hamid Mir is a CIA agent. Some ISI officials had opined in the media that CIA may have kidnapped Colonel Imam and Khalid Khwaja. Taliban said that they killed Khalid Khwaja because he was a CIA and ISI agent. It would appear from Pakistani media that all Pakistanis are CIA agents. Is CIA really that stupid that it will get its agents killed by its own agents? Or is it that Pakistanis have no regard for truth and just blame CIA after they kill each other?

  • T Ruth says:

    Half a pound of an IE Device
    Half a pound of treason
    Thats the way the dollar goes
    Pop goes the weasel!

  • T Ruth says:

    “Each time a read the transcript I see something new.”
    Then you’ll love this. An alleged ISI version of a note doing the rounds linking up the Barader arrest to the Khwaja disposal to yes, even the FS event
    As for the Asian Tigers, i reckon it was a one off project, in order for the collective Taliban to distance itself so that the ‘good’ Taliban was not being seen to be associated with killing an ISI ally man. Thin veil of course.
    “Pakistan has always been a dirty game, from the day of its founding. ”
    Render, i’m afraid when one looks at all the branches and roots you are right! The fact is the lot of them are rotten apples, you have to wonder who or what is worth saving. Paqistan is truly now one Big Machination.
    Wheels within wheels within wheels and deals within wheels within deals.
    One really has no idea where its salvation lies!

  • Bill Roggio says:

    I noted from the beginning that this had to be the Taliban as this wasn’t going to go down without the Taliban’s approval. Given that Tariq Afridi was behind this (and ultimately Hakeemullah) that pretty much seals the deal.
    My only surprise in any of this is that they actually killed Khawaja. He was a real asset. What this shows is how much pull Hamid Mir actually has with these groups. His word was good enough to get Khawaja murdered.

  • Charley says:

    I thought Mansoor Ijaz’s 15 minutes of fame were over 9 years back. His mention here seems out of place. I regard with contempt this pretentious oily salesman.

  • kp says:

    @T Ruth: Looks llke another Pakistani Conspiracy Theory with a lot of wishful thinking to me.

    Obvious holes are: no sources mentioned in this write up; Mir has been a Taliban supporter for a long time so this implies that he has been doubled; why would the TTP release a tape that shows they’ve been had?; and the content of the tape: previously mentioned counter-intel content of the tape and clear linkage from TTP to Asian Tigers.

    I don’t buy it: the simpler explanation is someone in Pakistani govt or the IB is out to get Mir.

    BTW, the IB is one org that’s never mentioned here. Like the UK split between MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service) and MI5 (Security Service) the Pakistani’s have the ISI for “external” intelligence and the IB for “internal security”. If the ISI is backing the TTP and similar groups then the IB will be fighting against them. And then there is the Military Intelligence Pakistan (just like the KGB and the GRU in the old Soviet Union I suspect they don’t really talk).

  • Psec-csec says:

    How soon do ya think it is before Hamid Mir get’s on USG’s No Fly List?

  • Render says:

    T: Some of the British Empires hasty exits left gaping wounds that bleed to this day. Pakistan was one of the worst such wounds and remains thus…
    Bill: Indeed. I didn’t expect any of them to get whacked but would have suspected the British journalist (has his name ever been released?) as the only expendable one of the three. I wonder how much pull HM will have when his friends figure out that his lie cost them an asset?
    This is third class stuff from a second class command structure that is neither in command nor structured. There appears much weakness here to be exploited, if there were people on the ground.
    The original source must be known and considered. Do we and have we?
    All this while the Reapers and Predators are flying in packs flinging down Hellfires like lightning and across the border the Talib are setting up broad daylight checkpoint road blocks just 4 clicks outside of Kandahar AB.
    Mount up the Strykers and The Corp, take Miram Shah, burn it to the ground, repeat as necessary.

  • Mr T says:

    UM: Yes, he met with Hakimullah and others when he came here last time.
    This was an interesting statement. Khawaja met with Hakeemullah when? Did he meet with him shortly before Hakeemullah was attacked and almost killed by a drone? Is it possible that that meeting led to the intelligence that targeted Hakeemullah?
    Reading betwen the lines, I am guessing they are doing some real searching for the moles in their midst. They know they are there. Suspected ones are kept on the sidelines, perhaps fed bad info and then the Taliban looks to see if the leaked info leads to an attack.
    After Hakeemullah was attacked, they retraced all his activity and who was there. Khawaja’s name came up. They probably suspected him. The next time he came there, they interrogated him, (probably using torture, for all those who care so deeply about that). They came up with something or needed some corroboration. Mir provided it.
    Thats all they needed. Top guy, spy, suspect, corroboration, death. I also wouldn’t doubt that other “suspects” told lies about Khawaja to save their own skins. The Taliban has probably killed scores of innocent people they claimed were spies. Some because there was suspicion, others because someone wanted to settle an old score.
    I just find it interesting that he met with Hakeemullah. That means he had some knowledge of his whereabouts.

  • Neo says:

    I can’t tell whose doing who here. The Taliban’s approach of “off with their heads and let God sort them out”

  • Bing says:

    Many years from now they will produce a movie about all of this and no one will believe any of this ever happened.

  • Charu says:

    Fascinating! Le Carre would have enough material for multiple books from this transcription. My guess is that the ISI is paying Mir back for having one of their guys killed. Although why they would have him swing slowly in the wind rather than resort to their usual brutal elimination is puzzling. Perhaps it is the IB that is sticking it to both the ISI and Mir?
    Not only is it clear that the Asian Tigers is just another name for the Pakistani Taliban, it also underscores the many entanglements that exist between the ISI and the Pakistan Taliban and Al Qaeda. For example, Khawaja has a son inside Al Qaeda! How diligently would the ISI take on Al Qaeda when there are close family ties such as this between the organizations? He also tries to coax the Pakistani Taliban back into the ISI’s fold, and asks them to loot American supply trucks and not burn them – not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs; once again demonstrating Pakistani phenomenal skills at duplicity, and the America’s inexhaustable ability to be taken for a ride. And he apparently met Hakimullah the time before; highlighting the ease with which the ISI.keeps contacts with America’s enemies.
    Mir is an odious gollum who signed Khawaja’s death warrant for personal (and tribal) reasons. His days can’t be shortened fast enough. And no one should lose any sleep over Khawaja. They are all immoral mafia thugs knee-deep in blood. The entire amoral country needs to be fumigated!

  • kp says:

    @Mr T:”I just find it interesting that he met with Hakeemullah. That means he had some knowledge of his whereabouts.”

    He would have been walked to HM location (as described in a recent South Asia Times article) devoid of any hardware at all (even his own pen and paper … the CIA could have bugged them). They wouldn’t have told him in advance where HM was.

    They have at least some decent OPESEC now. I rather suspect HM is now partially “underground” (like UBL and AZ — possibly in an urban area) and has a very small entourage and a non-electronic link (couriers) to the outside world. It’s probably crimping his style and making it more difficult to run the group requiring more delegation (a dangerous thing if he should loose his grip on his deputies or the TTP).

  • kp says:

    Bill posted the link to this story from Asian Times by Syed Saleem Shahzad (who seems to have a lot of background in this field).

    It shows some of the background behind the story of the killing of Khawaja.

    In this version the Asia Tigers == LJ and are connected to the Mehsuds but seem to distrust MO, 313 Brigade and AQ.


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