Sirajuddin Haqqani, the operational leader of the Haqqani network has denied his group has links to Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI. Sirajuddin, in an interview with BBC on Monday categorically denied reports of links with intelligence agencies of any countries including Pakistan.
The leader of the group although claiming responsibility for the attacks on western targets in Kabul, denied killing Burhanuddin Rabbani. Sirajuddin Haqqani accepted responsibility for the recent attacks on western targets in Kabul, however, he denied any role in the assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani. He also commented on the close association with Quetta Shurra under the banner of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, dispelling rumors of any disunity.
A senior Afghan intelligence official countered by telling BBC,
“The ISI gives the network intelligence, tactical advice and training. Groups like Lashkar-e Taiba give [the network] fighters and share information and experience about battles.”
“We know for sure that Lashkar-e Taiba fighters come and fight alongside the Haqqani network. The Haqqanis fight alongside Lashkar-e Taiba in Kashmir. They have a longstanding relationship.”
On the other hand, Pakistan rejected claims by Afghan officials that the assassin of the ex-Afghan president was a Pakistani national. The Afghan presidential palace issued a statement claiming Rabbani’s death “was plotted in Quetta and the person who carried out the suicide attack against Rabbani was a citizen of Pakistan.” The Afghan Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi further alleged on Saturday that Pakistan’s ISI was behind the killing. According to the spokesperson of the Afghan spy agency, Kabul has handed evidence to the Pakistani embassy containing details of the persons involved in the assassination.
Islamabad has denied these claims calling Rabbani “a great friend”. A statement issued by its Foreign Office expressed disappointment over the allegations. It also said the interior minister’s statements were regrettable as Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had offered cooperation in the investigation.