The Central Intelligence Agency is still secretly providing hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to Pakistan's spy service.
The financial support accounts for as much as one-third of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency's budget, and the CIA says it also includes money paid for the capture or killing of wanted militants, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday.
The CIA continues its clandestine financial program well aware of the fact that ISI is maintaining ties and providing support for the Afghan Taliban militants and other extremists. Top US officials have repeatedly expressed concern about ISI-Taliban ties.
The payments were first approved by former president George W. Bush and have continued under President Barack Obama, the report stated, adding that a fierce debate has now started within the US government.
Compared to the vast amount of publicly declared military and civilian aid to Pakistan, in defense CIA officials told the paper that their payments were a bargain.
“They gave us 600 to 700 people captured or dead,” one former CIA official who worked with the Pakistanis was quoted as saying. “Getting these guys off the street was a good thing, and it was a big savings to (US) taxpayers.”
During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the ISI and the CIA cooperated to arm militant groups fighting the Russians. After the Soviet withdrawal, the ISI continued backing the Taliban.
Pakistan only switched sides from the Taliban to the US after the September 11, 2001 attacks.