ISLAMABAD, Aug 1: Pakistan on Friday angrily rejected a report that the United States had accused its main spy agency – ISI – of helping to plan a fatal bombing at India’s embassy in Kabul last month.
Citing unnamed officials, the New York Times said intercepted communications had provided clear evidence that the ISI was involved in the July 7 suicide attack on the Indian mission, which killed around 60 people.
“It’s rubbish. We totally deny it,” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said.
“This is a baseless allegation that the New York Times keeps on recycling using anonymous sources. These stories always die afterwards because there is no proof,” Mr Sadiq said, speaking from a regional summit in Colombo.
Pakistan’s military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas said the report was “malicious propaganda”.
“It is meant to defame ISI,” Mr Abbas told AFP. “This is a national institution which is vital for security. The ISI’s role in fighting terrorism and extremism is exceptional.”
The Times and Wall Street Journal reported that US officials believed the embassy attack was conducted by forces loyal to Afghan militant Jalaluddin Haqqani, who is tied to Al Qaeda and based in Pakistan’s tribal belt.
The Times did not specify what assistance ISI allegedly provided to Haqqani but said that intelligence officials involved appeared to be acting on orders from above.
“The Indians are absolutely convinced it’s true, and they’re right,” an unnamed US official told the Wall Street Journal.
The Times said intercepts had provided “the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region.”
The new intelligence “confirmed some suspicions that I think were widely held,” one State Department official told the Times of the intercepted communications.
“It was sort of this ‘aha’ moment. There was a sense that there was finally direct proof.”