Pakistan's ISI Linked to Terror Groups, Runs Parallel to Civilian Govt

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis | Wakil Kohsari  AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis | Wakil Kohsari AFP via Getty Images

Pakistani officials are full of bravado in public but are known to be extremely vulnerable to pressure considering many of them have family and assets outside Pakistan, including in U.S. and UK In an episode recounted frequently in the Pakistani media, a USA prosecutor is said to have once ridiculed Pakistanis for "selling their mothers for a few thousand dollars".

The "rules of engagement" governing USA forces in Afghanistan have been relaxed, following a similar easing of restrictions on warfare in Yemen and Afghanistan. We must be convinced of the merits of the administration's actions.

"I believe at this point in time, absent indications to the contrary, it is something that the president should consider staying with", the defense secretary added.

"It gives the Afghans a little more confidence in what they are doing", he said.

The United States has roughly 11,000 troops in Afghanistan, and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and partner nations have deployed 6,800.

Trump unveiled his new strategy for Afghanistan in August and said American troops would "fight to win" by attacking enemies, "crushing" al-Qaida, and preventing terrorist attacks against Americans.

"The enemy [Taliban] is under pressure, they have a loss of leadership and have become increasingly fractious", Mr Mattis said.

The changes include removing proximity requirements for strikes against the Taliban and extending U.S. advisers to lower-level Afghan units.

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In response to another question from Fischer, Dunford said there will be long-term transformation of responsibilities to the Afghan air force.

Right now, the state, defence and treasury departments and intelligence services are working on the plan that the U.S. would be "aligning" with its allies, he said. He added that they were being dined and wined in the White House and now the U.S. blames Pakistanis for nurturing these people. "Our goal is a stabilized Afghanistan achieved by an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process".

"We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations", he said warning that vital aid could be cut. McCain says the Trump administration has failed to inform Congress of the details of the strategy spelled out by Trump.

"It is clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups", he said.

The top USA military officer said on Tuesday that he believed that Pakistan's main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, had ties to militant groups. McCain said at the committee hearing.

"The Taliban, frankly, fed that message to their fighters, and that's how they motivated their people year after year - was, "One more year in a fight, and then we're going to defeat the coalition". Mattis said a decision is imminent.

Asked in a Senate hearing whether he thought this was in the national interest, he said that it was.

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