“Pakistan’s intelligence organization, known as Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has ensnared the U.S. in a double game for years.
Operating in the shadows of the Pakistani “deep state” – a term used to reference the country’s political system, which is dictated by unelected military and security officials – the ISI has strategically fashioned a mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S. since the late 1970s and 1980s, when it worked alongside the CIA to funnel money and weapons to mujahideen fighters battling Soviet forces in Afghanistan. In the aftermath of 9/11, ISI officials claimed to have aided U.S. forces in capturing or killing several top al Qaeda leaders, including Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
At the same time, however, the ISI has never lost sight of its own agenda, which gives priority to counteracting the activities of India, and to ensuring that any government in Kabul owes no allegiance to India. To that end, the ISI supplied the Taliban with weapons and cash to help it rise to power in Afghanistan during the 1990s. Despite denials from senior Pakistani officials, many experts agree that the ISI continues to protect and assist the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), all designated as terrorists by the U.S. government, as part of its strategy to keep Afghanistan on unstable footing and advance its ambitions in the disputed Kashmir region bordering India and Pakistan.“