The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) doles out hundreds of millions of dollars to Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, for various purposes including payment for the capture or killing of wanted terrorists, reported a US newspaper citing unnamed officials and former officials.
According to a report of the Log Angeles Times on Monday, the CIA’s financial support to the ISI is as higher as spy agency’s one-third of budget. The CIA declined to comment on the topic when contacted, the report said.
It should be noted that the secret programme under which bounties are offered to ISI for the capture and killing of terrorism has triggered a fierce debate within the US government as ISI is suspected of continuing ties and giving support to Taliban and other Islamist extremists in Afghanistan, the report said quoting officials.
The report revealed that the payments were first approved by former president George W Bush and have continued under President Barack Obama.
Compared to the vast amount of publicly declared military and civilian aid to Pakistan, CIA officials told the paper that their payments were a bargain.
“They gave us 600 to 700 people captured or dead,” one former CIA official who worked with the Pakistanis was quoted as saying. “Getting these guys off the street was a good thing, and it was a big savings to (US) taxpayers.”
Another intelligence official said that Pakistan had made “decisive contributions to counter-terrorism.”