Gitmo docs link Pakistani, Iranian, and Yemeni intelligence agencies to al Qaeda

A classified document used by military and intelligence officials in the determination of a Guantanamo detainee’s linkages to al Qaeda and associated movements lists the intelligence services of Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen as “associated forces” known to support al Qaeda and allied movements, including the Taliban.

The document, titled “Matrix of Threat Indicators for Enemy Combatants,” was one of more than 700 documents released to select news agencies by WikiLeaks. The document has been published by The New York Times.

On pages 16 and 17, the document lists the “Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate,” “Iranian Intelligence,” and “Yemeni Intelligence [PSO]” as “associated forces … with which al Qaeda, the al Qaeda network, or the Taliban had or has an established working, supportive, or beneficiary relationship for the achievement of common goals.”

“Through associations with these groups and organizations, a detainee may have provided support to al Qaeda or the Taliban, or engaged in hostilities against US or Coalition forces,” the document continued.

The intelligence services of Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen are listed among numerous terror groups and entities such as nongovernmental organizations that have been designated by the US government and the United Nations [see the full list below]. The Muslim Brotherhood is also listed in the document among the entities that support al Qaeda.

Pakistan’s military and its intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, are known to harbor and support various Taliban and allied groups who carry out attacks against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Pakistani government has allowed and aided the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and several Pakistani Taliban groups, to organize in Pakistan’s cities and border areas. Also, terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Jaish-e-Mohammad, and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami receive direct support. These terror groups are allied with al Qaeda and support their local and global operations.

Iranian intelligence, and the Qods Force, the special operations branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, also support terrorist groups in the region and worldwide. Iran’s support of terrorists groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad is well established. The US Treasury Department has also directly linked Qods Force to the Taliban, while al Qaeda operatives are known to use Iran to transit to Afghanistan via safe houses. Hundreds of al Qaeda leaders, fighters, and their families traveled to Iran after the US invasion of Afghanistan, and were placed into protective custody. Meanwhile, some of these al Qaeda operatives coordinated attacks in neighboring countries. Qods Force also maintained contact with al Qaeda’s top leaders. For instance, Osama bin Laden’s son, Sa’ad, who was being held in Iran, facilitated communications between Ayman al Zawahiri and Qods Force in September 2008 after the deadly attack on the US embassy in Yemen.

Yemeni intelligence, or the Political Security Organization (the PSO), has provided direct support to al Qaeda, according to a senior Yemeni al Qaeda leader, and has sent hundreds of Yemenis to fight with al Qaeda in Iraq against US and Coalition forces. The PSO is known to be riddled with Salafists, al Qaeda sympathizers, and even so-called “reformed” al Qaeda members. The Yemeni government routinely makes deals with al Qaeda and in the past has used al Qaeda fighters as shock troops to battle the Shia Houthis in the north. In 2006, dozens of top al Qaeda prisoners escaped from a PSO jail in Sana’a; the escape is widely believed to have been conducted with the knowledge and support of the PSO.

Both Pakistan and Yemen are considered by the US government to be key allies in the war against al Qaeda and allied movements. The disclosure of the Matrix of Threat Indicators for Enemy Combatants is likely to contribute to the continuing souring of relations between the US and Pakistan.

List of al Qaeda and Taliban associated forces, according to the Matrix of Threat Indicators for Enemy Combatants document:

Afghan Support Committee (Afghan Support Group)

Al-Muhajiroun [ALM]

Al-Itihad Al-Islami [AIAI]

Al-Qaida Network

Ansar al-Islam [AI]

Armed Islamic Group [GIA]

East Africa al-Qaida [EAAQ]

Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party [ETIP]

Gama”a Islamia [GI]

Harakat Al-Mujahideen [HUM]

Hezb-I-Islami-Gulbuddin (AMC Entity) [HIG]

Hezbollah Islah Party Islamic Movement of Tajikistan (ACM Entity) [IMT]

Islamic Salvation Front [FIS]

Jaysh Al-Muhammad [JEM]

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group [LIFG]

Moro Islamic Liberation Front [MILF]

Muslim Brotherhood [MB]

Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate [ISID]

Anti-Coalition Militia [ACM]

Council of Islamic Courts [CIC]

East Turkistan Islamic Movement [ETIM]

Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Islamic Jihad [EIJ]


Harakat-Ul-Jihad-I-Islami [HUJI]

Hezb-I-Islami-Khalis-(ACM Entity) [HIK]

Iranian Intelligence

Islamic Jihad Union (Islamic Jihad Group) [IJU, IJG]

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan [IMU]

Jama”at Al-Islami [JI]

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (and its political wing MDI) [LT]

Maktab Al-Khadimat [MK]

Moroccan Islamic Combat Group [GICM]

North African Extremist Network

Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs [RSRSBCM]

Salafist Group for Call and Combat [GSPC]

Takfir wa Hijra [TAKFIR]

Tunisian Combat Group [TCG]

Yemeni Intelligence [PSO]

Active Islamic Youth NGO

Al-Akhtar Trust NGO

Al-Haramayn International Foundation NGO (HIF, HIFA)

Salafiya Jihadia (SJ)

Taliban Tunisian Islamic Front [precursor to Tunisian Combat Group, TCG] [FIT]

Zarqawi Network (al-Qaida in Iraq)

African Muslim Association (sometimes Agency) NGO (AMA)

Al-Furqan NGO

Al-Wafa Humanitarian Organization NGO, al-Wafa al-Islamiya, Munathima Wafa lalA”mal al-Agathia, Munathima Wafa lalA”mal al-Ansania, Wafa Global Relief Foundation NGO (GRF) International Islamic Relief Organization NGO [IIRO]

Kuwaiti Joint Relief Committee NGO [KJRC]

Maktab al-Khidmat NGO [MK]

Qatari Joint Committee for Relief NGO Revival of Islamic Heritage Society NGO [RIHS]

Saudi High Commission for Relief NGO [SHCR] Ummah Tameer Nau NGO [UTN]

Benevolence International Foundation (Lajnat Al-Bir Al-Islami) NGO [BIF]

Human Appeal International NGO Jama”at Al-Tablighi NGO [JT]

Lajnat Al-Dawa Al-Islamiya NGO [LDI]

Muslim World League NGO Rashid Trust NGO

Sanabil NGO Taibah NGO World Assembly of Muslim Youth NGO [WAMY]

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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  • evenhead says:

    Not really surprised. In the case of Pakistan, they’re sort of hedging their bets, if the US succeeds in destroying Al-Qaida they can claim that they helped assist us, if Al-Qaida succeeds in gaining more power they get to keep their lives. For Iran it’s just Cold War tactics. For Yemen it’s sort of similar to Pakistan.

  • Mr T says:

    So interesting that international relations nowadays include such nefarious relationships. One country trying to assasinate another countries leader. Selling arms and logistical support to rebels or insurgents battling the government. Providing military training to various armed groups in a country.
    All this while smiling and shaking hands with the leaders of those governments. It seems a little honesty is lacking as countries lie to each others faces and try to stab each other in the back.
    I don’t know why the US can’t tell the truth about things while remaining consistant with the support of principles such as freedom and liberty. Tell the dictator you do not support him and will do things to undermine him. Tell each other supporter this is where we stand on the issue. Quit tiptoeing around the issue.
    I would love to be a fly on the wall of discussions with Pakistan. Who is telling them the issue is they are supporting the people we are fighting while taking our money. They need ot stop it or be considered ” with them” and not with us. You are not with us, then you get no aid and we reserve the right to enter your country and use armed force. We don’t care if you like it.
    On the other hand, if you are willing to work with us and prove it, we can be valuable partners. Lying to my face while trying to stab me in the back is not good statemanship. It is evil.
    It is also far too common in the world today as there is a huge lack of honesty at the highest levels.

  • Max says:

    Who’d a thunk it?

  • Charu says:

    Giving shelter to Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, Jalaluddin Haqqani, etc, seems to be more than just “hedging their bets”. Are Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami also a means to spread the risk? Every one of Pakistan’s associations are with groups immersed in death and destruction. And to top it off they are busy increasing their share of the ultimate bringer of death and destruction to life, nuclear weapons.
    Perhaps it is all finally coming to head now since President Obama has gathered his top national security and intelligence staff to review Afghan and Pakistan strategy. Let’s hope that they break out of the definition of insanity, which is the current AfPak strategy.

  • Hi Bill,
    Today through Kerry Lugar Bill, the americans are giving dollars which in turn is being used by the ISI to recruit sunni Baloachs for the Saudi supported Bahrain National guard. Here the Pakistani army is using american money with knowledge of america and at the same time helping itslef to stop terrorism in Balochistan and also seperatism while every one knows Saudies are supported by americans. I think Zardari Government is doing a great job for itself with American dollars. Ofcourse General Hamid gul supported Imran Khan showed how NATO supply line goes through Pakistan and also helped in escape of Raymond Davies. these cables are just smokescreen for Indians

  • kp says:

    Mr T said:

    I don’t know why the US can’t tell the truth about things while remaining consistant with the support of principles such as freedom and liberty. Tell the dictator you do not support him and will do things to undermine him. Tell each other supporter this is where we stand on the issue. Quit tiptoeing around the issue.

    It’s called diplomacy

    “Diplomacy is saying “nice doggy” while you are looking for a rock.” Will Rogers (usual attribution)

    That’s why soldiers don’t make good diplomats.

    Our primary supply route is through Pakistan. We are in a difficult position.


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