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Pak's ISI mainstreaming terrorism-Expert

Washington D.C. [United States], May 8 : Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) outfit is showing no signs of stopping its key mission of mainstreaming terrorism and encouraging political violence in South Asia and Afghanistan, according to an expert

In an article published by the web site, Javid Ahmad, a non-resident fellow with the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center and the Modern War Institute at West Point, describes

Pakistan's main spy service as a "formidable adversary" to most countries, including the United States in the geopolitical space, and apparently endorses the emergence of new non-violent mass movement challenging and rattling "Pakistan's deep state, primarily the notorious spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)".

He says that the "ISI's toxic influence is supreme. ISI's role in managing several anti-India proxy networks is also unmistakable... It operates under Pakistan's military command and is highly secretive, politically influential, patient, alarmingly active and ruthless to anyone they see as opposition."

He further reveals that the ISI "is not a rogue agency, but rather, a disciplined, non-factional, cohesive and bureaucratic enterprise, where reports of defections are rare. The institution is also well-off, with its active and retired personnel frequently profiting from numerous Pakistani military-owned charitable foundations and corporations. The agency's nearly twenty-five thousand personnel is mostly ethnically homogeneous, hailing predominantly from the army ranks."

Ahmad says in his article that what he sees as most troubling is the fact the ISI "operates" on the philosophy that "it needs enemies to remain relevant-and in control".
This, he adds, allows the service to manufacture pet militant groups and imaginary threats to drive its motives, and allegedly maintain a "roster of nearly one hundred thousand militant fighters at its discretion."
The ISI, Ahmad claims, sits at the core of the Pakistani state.
"It has regularly challenged the country's civilian rule and has hampered Pakistan's democratic progress through systematic coercive campaigns against dissenting voices, including politicians, activists, academics and the media. It has forged alliances with extremist religious groups and fringe political parties meant to control the Pakistani people by keeping them subservient to the state," he says.
Apart from using old tactics, the ISI also intimidates, indulges in forced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture and assassinations. It also engages in sabotage activities, psychological operations and influence campaigns. Its infatuation with jihadi groups has turned certain segments of the agency into becoming increasingly extremist, he adds.

Referring specifically to Afghanistan, Ahmad says that the "ISI's Afghan operations are undertaken by at least three units. The first is Directorate S, the principal covert action arm that directs and oversees the Afghan policy, including militant and terrorist outfits and their operations. The second unit is the Special Service Group (SSG), also known as the Pakistani SS, and are the army's special forces element that was established in the 1950s as a hedge against the communists, and the third ISI unit is the Afghan Logistics Cell, a transport network inside Pakistan facilitated by members of Pakistan's Frontier Corps that provide logistical support to the Taliban and their families."

He believes that these support networks of the ISI "have been designed to break Afghanistan into pieces and then remold it into a pliant state.. and drive its political climate into an uncharted constitutional territory to create a vacuum, which inevitably places the Taliban in the driving seat."

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