Elements in Pakistan's intelligence service "involved in Times Square plot"

and Pakistani military provided training and logistical support for several terrorist attacks inside India — the most recent one being the December 2008 attack in Mumbai, which killed 166 people. For many in ISI, heeding the U.S. demand to dismantle the Pakistani terrorist networks is tantamount to Pakistani unilateral disarmament in its conflict with India.

Faisal Shazad

This brings us to Faisal Shazad, the Times Square would-be bomber. American investigators believe rogue Pakistani intelligence agents may have been involved in the Times Square bomb plot, a potentially devastating blow to Pakistan’s already shaky anti-terror credentials. They are probing a possible connection between Faisal Shahzad and Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence establishment.

The Telegraph’s Rob Crilly writes that Shazad’s background as the son of a senior Pakistani Air Force officer may have brought him into contact with intelligence agents who helped build the Afghan Taliban and who have channeled cash and training to home-grown Jihadis, according to a source familiar with the investigation. “You don’t know who he might have been introduced to in that sort of military environment,” said the source.

Such a connection would be desperately embarrassing to the government in Islamabad, which is under pressure to demonstrate its commitment to tackling terrorism. It would, however, help investigators make sense of how a boy raised in the secular, moderate environment of Pakistan’s military schools could stand accused of terrorism.

Crilly writes that investigation teams, which have been arriving from the United States since the start of the week, and are at work in Peshawar, close to Shahzad’s family home, Karachi, where he spent time as an adult as well as in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistani Army and intelligence agencies are based, according to the source.

They believe he may have used colleagues of his father — Air Vice Marshal Baharul Haq — to make contact with the Pakistan Taliban.

As we noted above, Pakistan has a history of using Jihadi groups as a tool of its foreign policy. Its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency helped equip and train Afghan mujahideen fighting Soviet occupation during the 1980s and then used the Taliban to fill the resulting vacuum. They have supported militant groups in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Some elements in the government have become increasingly concerned in recent years about groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed for the devastating attacks in Mumbai in December 2008, and these elements have distanced themselves from some former allies.

American investigators are now examining what links might still exist “They kept the connection in case of what India might do,” said the source.

U.S. investigators believe the Pakistan Taliban provided training and financing for the plot. Pakistan is already under pressure to do more to rid its tribal areas of militants. At the weekend, Hillary Clinton, U.S. secretary of state, issued a stark warning. “We’ve made it very clear that if — heaven-forbid — an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences,” she said.

Fresh evidence emerged the other day of Pakistan’s problems with militants. UPI quotes Alexandar Kadakin, the Russian ambassador to India, to say that up to 40 camps housing terrorists are in operation along the Pakistan- Afghanistan border. Kadakin said the findings were based on Russian intelligence and satellite imagery.