The inter service intelligence, also known as the ISI for short, was formed on January 1st 1948. The agency is made up of military officers and personnel from Pakistan Armed Forces. Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, ISI, is among the most active intelligence enterprise and covered direct action forces in the world. It is part of the Pakistani army but it operates, generally, beyond the control of the Pakistani government as a whole.
The American crime news declared Pakistan’s inter services intelligence (ISI), can be the world’s best and strongest intelligence agency back in 2011. The ISI headquarters is located in Islamabad and its main focus is to protect Pakistan’s national interests as well as look into matters of political and social interest to Pakistan and advise the military in the best steps to take.
Let’s talk a little bit about Operation Cyclone. If you’re not familiar, it was a code name given to an operation between the American CIA and the Pakistani ISI, beginning in 1979 and ending in 1989. The objective of this mission was to stop the invasion of the USSR forces into Afghanistan by providing support to the Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan. That was one of the most expensive CIA operations that it has ever undertaken and it cost some roughly twenty to thirty million dollars every single year but that was up until 1980 and by the time they reached 1987, it rose to 630 million dollars.
It’s also reported that no ISI agent has ever been caught or turned. The Pakistani government has not yet taken responsibility for any alleged undercover agent that was caught on foreign soil. There are stories of officials like Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja, who were arrested on Pakistani soil for conspiracy against the state but it seems like the ISI has been very good at isolating themselves from any direct involvement in any of the covert operation that they have supposedly orchestrated. And that’s very impressive!
The ISI have also played very crucial roles in arresting members of Al-Qaeda, as well as the Talibans. Even though most Western TV shows and movies, show the ISI in some kind of negative light where there possibly shown collaborating with terrorists, the ISI actually have worked very close with the CIA in bringing down crucial targets and officials of the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda all across the world. While there are sources that link ongoing relation between terrorist organizations and the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service has played a very crucial role in the capture of very prominent agitators like Ramzi Yousef, Abdul Ghani, Ahmed Omar, Saeed Sheikh and many more.
As I mentioned earlier in this article that the ISI have closer to 10,000 members and I say that because the official number hasn’t been confirmed, but what is known about ISI is that they do recruit from Pakistan’s military as well as they recruit civilian and put them through a lot of rigorous training. The training seems to be very secretive because there’s very little information and details about it but, what we do know is that the agents are trained in covert intelligence gathering and counter intelligence.
I also mentioned that the headquarters of the ISI is located in Islamabad and the complex consists of various low rising buildings, separated by lawns and fountains. Decon Walsh a journalist at the Guardian; he says that the entrance is suitably discreet. No sign, just a plain clothed officer, packing a pistol. Walsh also said that the complex resembled a well funded private university and that the buildings are neatly tended.
Moving on now to Operation Tupac; you read that correctly but it has nothing to do with the American rapper. Operation Tupac was the name of a 2 part operation that was designed to secretly support the militant of Kashmir. It was partly started by Pakistan’s president Zia-ul-Haq and the name comes from Tupac the Second, which is the 18th century print, who led the war of liberation in Peru against the Spanish rule. The ISI is currently engaged in covertly supporting the Kashmiri militants in their fight against the Indian authorities in Kashmir. This is because the militants in Kashmir are fighting to be independent from India and become part of Pakistan.
Another thing I want to highlight is the Kargil war. The line of control between India and Pakistan is probably one of the most inhospitable places in the world. The Kargil war is considered a victory for the ISI as it caught RAW, its Indian counterpart, completely off guard. India had no clue about the infiltration until they were informed about unknown strangers occupying Indian posts.