At least one Guantanamo Bay detainee discovered to be involved in a plot to attack the US Consulate in Peshawar and believed to have carried out a string of bombings in Pakistan in 2002, was also on the payroll for British and Canadian intelligence services, according to secret files on detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Algerian detainee Adil Hadi al Jazairi bin Hamili, linked with the Algerian Armed Islamic Group and the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, confessed that he had worked for the Taliban’s foreign ministry and intelligence services as well.
Hamili was captured in a raid in Peshawar in 2003.
According to Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau, Hamili was an Algerian terrorist, hired assassin, kidnapper, and member of Osama bin Laden’s “umbrella organisation.” However, the Central Intelligence Agency found that not only was Hamili a source for the British and Canadian intelligence services who had withheld information from the two, but he was also running a terrorist cell.
According to US assessment, Hamili was actually Abu Adil, who Khalid Shaikh Mohammad had confessed to meeting in early 2002. Mohammad had given Rs300,000 to support Abu Adil’s cell in Punjab and an assassination plot against Pervez Musharraf. According to Mohammad, Abu Adil was responsible for attacks on two churches in Islamabad and Sialkot, and possibly involved in the May 2002 attack on Karachi’s Sheraton Hotel in which 11 French engineers and three Pakistanis were killed. Hamili was recruited by foreign intelligence “because of his connections to members of various al Qaeda linked terrorist groups that operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Hamili was not the only spy in custody. Iraqi detainee Bisher al-Rawi also said he had links with MI5 and was providing information to the agency on Abu Qatada, the ‘spiritual leader of the Armed Islamic Group’. The document states that the intelligence service owned up to this. “When visiting Guantanamo Bay, a member of an allied intelligence service admitted a relationship with the detainee.”
ISI: friend or foe
As details of ISI’s alleged involvement in Afghanistan and support for al Qaeda emerged from documents released by WikiLeaks, Interior Minister Rehman Malik was quick to denounce moves to ‘defame’ the agency. “The ISI is being wrongfully defamed,” Malik told media on Tuesday.
“The ISI is a patriotic organisation with a huge role in combating terrorism. Those trying to bring it into disrepute will not succeed,” he said.
While successive governments have claimed that Pakistan is committed to defeating al Qaeda, information in the documents released by WikiLeaks say different.
The ISI was reportedly behind a 2002 plot to create an office in Peshawar which would ‘combine elements of the Taliban, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) and al Qaeda’, according to an Afghan detainee at Guantanamo Bay.
According to the detainee, the goal of ISI’s initiative was to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Afghanistana.
However, other detainees told the US of ‘rogue ISI units’ that were involved in terrorism in Afghanistan. Nasser Gul, a long-time commander under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, said that he had worked for the ISI for about 20 years.
According to an assessment document, the ISI had provided the HIG with anti-coalition militia (ACM) training.
Another high-level HIG commander, Akhtiar Mohammad, was detained to provide intelligence on HIG-Seyyef links to the ISI, among other reasons. He was also assessed to have worked with rogue elements of the ISI. “The detainee worked with commander Daud, helping infiltrate ISI personnel into Afghanistan.
The ISI were attempting to infiltrate the Afghan villages of Breeze Khiel, Jabor Khiel, and Ali-Khiel […] The ISI officers gave training to HIG operatives in the Paktia province, [including] remote controlled improvised explosive device and sniper training.”
Mohammad also claimed that the ISI had participated in “several assassinations or attempted assassinations of key Afghan leaders”.
Tablighi Jamaat under radar
The released documents also reveal that one of the most prominent proselytising organisations, the Tablighi Jamaat, raised a red flag for US authorities.
According to the assessments of Guantanamo Bay detainees released by WikiLeaks, the Tablighi Jamaat was a ‘Tier 2 NGO target’, and Tier 2 targets had “demonstrated the intent and willingness to support organisations willing to attack US interests.”
Another assessment stated that al Qaeda had used the Tablighi Jamaat to “facilitate and fund the international travels of its members.” It was stated to be a “National Intelligence Priority Framework Counter Terrorism Priority 3 Terrorist Support Entity (TSE). Priority 3 TSEs have demonstrated intent and willingness to provide financial support to terrorist organisations willing to attack US persons or interest, or provide support to Priority 1-2 terrorist groups.”
In Pakistan, the group has generally escaped scrutiny and attracts thousands to its convention in Raiwind. According to a New York Times report, the perpetrators of the attacks on the Ahmaddiya community’s places of worship in Lahore stayed at the Tableeghi Jamaat’s headquarters in Raiwind and at the Ibrahim Mosque, run by the Jamaat.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2011.