The spies next door to OBL

May 5, 2011

Our special report “Why the U.S. mistrusts Pakistan’s powerful spy agency” examines in the history of the ISI, and what led President Obama to make the decision to keepĀ his supposed alliesĀ in the dark about this week’s raid on bin Laden’s safe house.

The killing of bin Laden exposes just how dysfunctional the relationship has become. The fact that bin Laden seems to have lived for years in a town an hour’s drive from Islamabad has U.S. congressmen demanding to know why Washington is paying $1 billion a year in aid to Pakistan. Many of the hardest questions are directed at the ISI. Did it know bin Laden was there? Was it helping him? Is it rotten to the core or is it just a few sympathizers?

Kamran Bokhari, Middle East and South Asia director for global intelligence firm STRATFOR, discusses the issues here:

To read the special report in multimedia PDF format, click here:


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Not just the ISI. Indeed the didn’t trust any of the Pakistani defence or security apparatus.

This is why they risked using (and lost) a stealth helicopter, that the world did not know about prior to this raid. If there was a modicum of trust between the US and Pakistan, they would have used regular Chinooks, Blackhawks or Ospreys. But they could not risk using unstealthy aircraft, even if they did trust the Pakistani leadership, lest some wrongly affiliated Pakistani radar operator sound the tip-off to one of those “strategic assets”.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive

Great interview. STRATFOR does amazing work.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive

Excellent analysis by stratfor.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Claudia Parsons, I wish you had consulted more reviewers before releasing this paper. As just one example, the summary box on “Pakistan’s Troubled History” misses a few important points.

1. The 1971 war led Pakistan’s leadership to three important actions, of which you have listed only two: “[…] This ultimately led to its support for militant proxies. It also turned to a more militant brand of Islam to rally the country.” The third was the decision to go nuclear. Whoopsie, that’s an omission that’s inexcusable in a piece like this.

2. Was Musharraf’s coup the only major event of 1999? Do you remember a little incident called Kargil?

The next time you want some facts on Pakistan, ask an Indian. We have long memories.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

I was in Peshawar in the mid 60’s, during the height of the Cold War.

The ISI was a very corrupt organization w-a-y back then.
Frankly, I think we should pull our troops out of Pak. Why are they needed there?

Posted by DIRNSA | Report as abusive