WASHINGTON: Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI has connections with terrorist groups and runs its own foreign policy, a top US general said on Tuesday.
Pakistan has denied the US's allegations, which could possibly be the strongest indictment of the support that the Pakistan's spy agency provides to terrorist groups.
India and Afghanistan have also been time and again charging their neighbour Pakistan with similar allegations.
"I think it's clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups," General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff told members of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing. He was responding to a question from Senator Joe Donnelly.
Donnelly had asked Dunford if he thought the ISI was still helping the Taliban.
Over the past several years, Dunford said, the US has had a bilateral approach to trying to effect a change in Pakistan's behaviour.
He, however, added he does not think that there is one thing that would change Pakistan's behaviour.
Dunford hoped that a multilateral approach might help in bringing changes in Pakistan's behaviour.
The top American general was joined by his defence secretary Jim Mattis in slamming the ISI.
"We have seen havens left to the terrorists' own devices. We have seen the government of Pakistan come down on terrorism, while ISI appears to run its own foreign policy," Mattis said acknowledging for the first time in public domain that ISI runs its own policy and does not seem to be controlled by the federal government.
The strong statements on ISI and Pakistan from top officials of the Trump Administration came hours before the Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif landed in Washington on a three-day visit. Asif is scheduled to meet the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the National Security Adviser H R McMaster and address the think-tank community at the US Institute of Peace.
General Joseph Dunford.