Tags: Kerry | Pakistan | ISI

Kerry Warns Pakistan to Control Spy Agency

Monday, 15 Dec 2008 09:05 AM

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NEW DELHI – US Senator John Kerry visited India Monday and put fresh pressure on Pakistan over the Mumbai attacks, saying its powerful spy agency must be brought under control.

Ahead of talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Kerry said Pakistan's Inter Services-Intelligence (ISI) must stop operating independently of the government and end its links with militant groups.

"We would like to see an ISI that is reforming and brought completely under civilian control," Kerry told the Indian Express.

Kerry said the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group, which India accuses of planning the Mumbai attacks, was set up by the ISI to fight Indian rule in Kashmir.

"They formed it and they know they formed it. But they didn't know that the LeT would graduate into an enterprise of its own," Kerry said, adding the ISI was not linked to Mumbai attacks "unless at some lower level".

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari tried to put the ISI under the control of the interior ministry in July but hastily reversed his decision after protests from Pakistan's military establishment.

In theory the ISI works under the control of the prime minister but in practice its functions are mainly run by Pakistan's pervasive security set-up.

Kerry is expected to brief US President-elect Barack Obama on his talks with Indian and Pakistani leaders when he returns after a visit to Islamabad.

His trip to the region is the latest by world leaders and officials trying to defuse tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan in the wake of last month's assault on Mumbai that left 172 people dead.

Copyright © 2008 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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