A top Saudi Arabian counter-terrorism official had told United States’ Af-Pak envoy Richard Holbrooke that he had little trust in Pakistan’s ISI when it comes to sharing information with it on terrorism, a U.S. cable released by WikiLeaks cable reveals.
Major General Khalid al-Humaydan (“Abu Ali”), who has been leading operations against terrorists and those involved in sending funds to terror outfits based in Pakistan, had said his security forces had detained numerous individuals from Pakistan and were seeking cooperation to probe their activities.
In a meeting with Mr. Holbrooke, the Counterterrorism Advisor to the Ministry of the Interior Saudi Arabia, said his agencies have to think “ten times” before approaching the ISI.
“He (al-Humaydan) added that ‘we talk to ISI and get a good response, but we think ten times before approaching them; things are changing there and we are advised to be careful,” the cable said.
“Political unrest and new ISI leadership were the principal changes, he said,” said the telegram issued by the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia, after the meeting on May 16, 2009.
“As a result, he concluded, ‘we only trust face-to-face transmission of information. The MOI had shared information with ISI on Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia suspected of terror finance, but ISI had not responded,” said the cable.
The United States, which has charged the WikiLeaks of indulging in a criminal act by stealing and releasing these cables, has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of these documents.
During the meeting, Holbrooke noted that Pakistan was also a centre for terrorist financing through Islamic charities and asked whether the Saudis were monitoring the large Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia, and whether the Saudis were consulting with the governments of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh over the issue.
During the meeting, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior Senior Advisor Major General Dr. Sa’ad al-Jabri said the Saudi approach was based on the fact that Saudi Arabia had been in a war and had to act.
Saudi authorities had detained over 4,000 individuals, some of whom were suspected of terrorist financing offences and would act if supplied with information, the cable said.
“Hajj was still a big problem for the Saudis, since they could not refuse to let pilgrims enter the country. Some of the non-Saudi terrorism detainees in Saudi Arabia had entered as pilgrims,” it said.