Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

WikiLeaks Report Fictitious, Says Pakistan's Ex-Spy Chief Hamid Gul

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

WikiLeaks Report Fictitious, Says Pakistan's Ex-Spy Chief Hamid Gul

Article excerpt

WikiLeaks' release of classified US documents include claims that Pakistan's former spy chief Hamid Gul ordered attacks against NATO troops. Mr. Gul speaks with the Monitor about the WikiLeaks reports.

The former chief of Pakistan's spy agency has derided as "malicious, fictitious, and preposterous" the leaked United States military documents implicating him in a string of attacks against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Hamid Gul's name appears no less than eight times in documents leaked Sunday by the online whistle-blower WikiLeaks. In the reports, the retired general and former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from 1987 to 1989 is accused of ordering IED attacks against Afghan and international forces in December 2006 and of plotting to kidnap United Nations staff to use as hostages in exchange for militant prisoners.

The ISI is mentioned in at least 190 reports, and is accused of backing attacks against US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in Afghanistan. In one report from March 2007, the ISI is alleged to have donated 1,000 motorcycles to militant leader Jalaluddin Haqqani to carry out suicide bomb attacks in Afghanistan.

"This is utter nonsense," Mr. Gul says in a telephone interview. Asked to respond to the various WikiLeaks reports in which his name appears, he replied: "Malicious, fictitious, and preposterous - and if this is the condition of US intelligence, then I am afraid it is no wonder they are losing in Afghanistan, and they will lose everywhere they try to poke their nose."

Gul has in the past called himself Washington's "darling" for playing a key role in the CIA's covert support of the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet-backed government in Kabul the 1980s, and he was a principle architect of Pakistan's foreign strategy in Afghanistan. He has held no official position since 1992, though he is still seen as a well-connected military adviser.

"It's a bloody shame for [the US] if a 74-year-old general sitting in his small house who has nothing to do within the ISI can pull this off," he says, adding: "If I can pull off the defeat of America in Afghanistan, then history books will record it to my credit, and my future generations will rejoice over it."

'I know your wrongdoings in Afghanistan'

WikiLeaks did not reveal the source of the leaked intelligence information, which was released weeks ago to The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel, which analyzed the data and simultaneously published articles Sunday. In April, WikiLeaks released classified video footage of US military shooting a group of civilians alleged to be insurgents in Baghdad, including two staff from Reuters news agency. In May, the US arrested Bradley Manning, an American intelligence analyst suspected of providing the video to WikiLeaks.

Gul, however, says that the US itself has orchestrated the latest WikiLeaks expose to shift attention away from its own failings in Afghanistan. …

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