The spreading acts of suicide and other terrorism by the Neo Taliban in Afghanistan and by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and other Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisations in India, the UK, Russia, the Central Asian Republics (CARs) and other countries of the world are being funded by the US taxpayers' money.
According to reliable sources in the Pakistani Police, the USA's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been paying large amounts to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for every Al Qaeda terrorist suspect captured by the Pakistani security agencies and handed over to the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Since 9/11, Pakistan claims to have captured over 370 Al Qaeda terrorist suspects—Arabs, Pakistanis, Afghans, Uzbecks and others—and handed them over to the CIA and the FBI. The US agencies had them immediately flown out of the country for interrogation in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba and the secret detention centres of the CIA elsewhere.
According to these Police sources, as an incentive for more arrests, the CIA was making cash payments to the ISI for every person picked up and handed over to the CIA and the FBI. The amounts paid were more in the case of terrorist suspects picked up by the Pakistani agencies at their own instance and less in the case of those picked up on intelligence furnished by the US agencies.
These amounts went to augment the top secret operational budget of the ISI, which used the money thus earned for funding the Pakistan-based terrorist infrastructure of the Neo Taliban, the LET and other jihadi terrorist organisations belonging to the International Islamic Front (IIF), for supplying arms and ammunition to them and for providing humanitarian relief to the families of the cadres of these organisations who were killed while participating in the jihad against the US, India and other countries.
The police sources say they and many intelligence officers were shocked to find Gen Pervez Musharraf admitting the payment of capture money by the CIA to the ISI in his book In the Line of Fire. He says in the book:
"Those who habitually accuse us of not doing enough in the war on terror, should simply ask the CIA how much prize money it has paid to the Government of Pakistan?"
Musharraf's admission of these payments has created embarrassment not only for Pakistani Police and intelligence officials, but also for the CIA. Since 9/11, the US Congress has allocated millions of dollars to the CIA for rewarding individual sources and villagers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who collaborate with the CIA in its hunt for Osama bin Laden and other remnants of Al Qaeda and the other members of the IIF.
The Congressional allocations were meant for payment to non-governmental individuals helping in the war against terror and not for payment to the ISI, which would have enhanced its capability for assisting the Neo Taliban, the LET and other jihadi terrorist organisations. This admission by Musharraf of CIA's secret payments to the ISI could come in for strong criticism in the US Congress and by the relatives of the citizens of the US and other NATO countries killed by Pakistan-based terrorists, including the Neo Taliban.
In a belated realisation of the serious implications of his admission, Musharraf has claimed in an interview to the CNN TV channel of the US that his statement in the book that the payments were made to the government of Pakistan needed to be modified. Police sources in Pakistan say that even if Musharraf retracts from his admission, it is a fact that the payments were made to the ISI, which it used for funding the Neo Taliban, the LET and other jihadi organisations.
There is an old Tamil saying that a frog's Achilles' Heel lies in its mouth. It exposes its presence to the predators by its inability to keep its mouth shut. Musharraf's Achilles' Heel too lies in his mouth.
B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.
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