New Delhi: A diplomatic cable sent under the name of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton states that despite public disavowals, “some officials of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) continue to maintain ties with a wide array of extremist organizations,” in particular the Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
According to “The Hindu”, the cable, dated December 30, 2009 (242073: secret), was sent to five U.S. Embassies, including that of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It says these organizations exploit Pakistan’s network of charities, non-governmental organizations and madrassas, which provide them with “recruits, funding and infrastructure to plan new attacks.”
Ms. Clinton accuses Pakistan of seeking to block the listing of Pakistan-based terrorists as well as “affiliated” terrorists nominated for blocking by India under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267. Under this resolution, countries are obliged to impose an economic sanctions regime against listed individuals and entities. She notes that Pakistan tries to block listings by requesting China, a member of the UNSC, to place a hold on such nominations. However, the cable notes that Beijing did not prevent the most recent Pakistan-related terrorist nomination made by the U.S.
Ms. Clinton’s action request cable urges the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad to engage the Pakistan government on a number of specific “talking points.” These include urging Islamabad to:
> Strictly enforce existing sanctions against all individuals and entities on the UNSCR 1267 consolidated list;
> View listing requests under UNSCR 1267 on merit and not on the basis on politics;
> Enforce sanctions on UN-proscribed NGOs that funnel money and other forms of support to the Taliban and the LeT;
> Act against the Haqqani network, “which is funneling weapons and fighters across the border to fight U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.”
The cable, the larger focus of which was to check illegal finance flows into Pakistan and Afghanistan from some Gulf countries, was also marked to American Embassies in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. It states that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” The country is described as a “critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raises millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources, often during Hajj and Ramadan.”
At the same time, it acknowledges that Saudi Arabia has enacted important reforms to criminalize terrorist financing and restrict the overseas flow of funds from Saudi-based charities.