Abduction of former Pakistani ISI officials raises questions

Colonel Imam

Colonel Imam

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Questions are being raised about the reported abduction of two well-known veterans of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, who appear to have been kidnapped by an unknown group in Pakistan’s remote tribal regions. The two are Khalid Khawaja and Sultan Amir Tarar, a.k.a. Colonel Imam. Khawaja, a retired ISI officer, was a critical mediator between the CIA and Osama bin Laden in the 1980s, during the al-Qaeda’s war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Colonel Imam, also a former intelligence officer and a diplomat, was the ISI handler of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar in the 1980s and early 1990s. Both Khawaja and Imam are considered senior members of the ISI’s ‘old guard’, who have strong ideological sympathies for both al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and frequently voice support for the latter. Last February, Colonel Imam called on the US to strive for a political settlement with the Taliban, by directly negotiating with Mullah Omar. The two were apparently abducted in March, while accompanying British-Pakistani film producer Asad Qureshi on a documentary tour of Pakistan’s Waziristan province. A few days ago, a video was emailed to Pakistani media by an unknown group calling itself Asian Tigers, showing Qureshi, Khawaja, and Colonel Imam, and calling for the release of imprisoned Taliban commanders Mullah Abdul Kabir, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Ironically, both Imam and Khawaja have publicly campaigned for Baradar’s release, a fact which raises questions among some observers about the authenticity of the video showing the alleged abductees.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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