ISLAMABAD: Over a month after Pakistan and Afghan intelligence agencies had formally agreed to avoid hostile propaganda, the Afghan spy agency publicly accused a Pakistani intelligence officer of “helping the Haqqani Network to carry out an attack on parliament in Kabul” last month.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in May between Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the National Directorate of Security (NDS) of Afghanistan reveals agreements on “non-indulgence in unnecessary blame game/rhetoric, including propagation of narratives, which are detrimental to the joint efforts resulting in image tarnishing”.
The Afghan intelligence spokesman, Hassib Siddiqi, who had defended the intelligence-sharing agreement with Pakistan at a news conference, played to the media galleries shortly after the brazen parliament attack on June 22. The Afghan Taliban had claimed responsibility.
The agreement further says, “Parties (intelligence agencies) will adopt a bipartisan approach for consultations and negotiations to settle bilateral issues/differences.”
Siddiqi’s accusations proved to be a serious setback to the fast growing trust building efforts by the top leadership of both countries.
The six-page MoU titled “Agreement on Intelligence Cooperation” was leaked online by Afghanistan’s pro-government newspaper Weesa, which is owned by Abdul Karim Khurram, who served as the Chief of Staff to former president Hamid Karzai before stepping down in September last year.
According to the agreement, both countries will “refrain from referring to each other as enemy, hostile or unfriendly agencies and will also curtail influence of spoilers from derailing the joint efforts of the parties”.
Both countries will establish an institutionalised liaison between the two agencies through offices in their respective capital cities. Experts from both sides will establish hotlines for “real-time intelligence sharing and coordination and also share interrogation reports of apprehended terrorists to dismantle terror networks”.
The ISI and NDS have also reached an understanding on intelligence sharing for joint threat assessment, enabling the agencies to mount coordinated and complementary operations in their respective areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2015.