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Intelligence sharing MoU with ISI is more calamitous than recognizing the Durand Line as international border: Ex-NDS chief

“During my tenure as the spy chief I didn’t sign any agreement, which will be a blot on our history”

AT-KABUL: As the National Directorate of Security (NDS)—the premier national spy agency—signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Afghan critics and former high-ranking security officials vehemently criticized the cooperation agreement and termed it as a betrayal of the trust and sacrifices of the Afghan security forces.

The former spy chief, Amrullah Saleh, on Tuesday said that the agreement is more dangerous and shameful than recognizing the Durand Line as an international boundary.

He termed the MoU a one-sided deal that betrayed the trust and sacrifices of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

“The elements that are ready to cooperate with Afghanistan have suffered at the hand of Pakistan’s army and spy agency. And these elements have confidence in Afghans. The signing of the MoU means Afghanistan is tantamount to stabbing these elements in their back whereas the truth is they have had confidence in this nation. Hurting their confidence is a betrayal,” he said.

Saleh made it clear that during his tenure as Afghanistan’s spy chief he had never run the agency from the position of weakness against the enemy. “I have never negotiated from the position of weakness, I have never remained silent, and I have not signed any agreement which will be a blot on our history. As a son of this soil I want to mention that the ex-President Hamid Karzai had never curtailed my authority against Pakistan. He used to encourage me whenever I defended Afghanistan on hard and soft fronts of the war,” he added.

Saleh said there was a typhoon of criticism against the Karzai’s government but he never compromised on the rights of any Afghan when it came to enemy from outside. “Karzai always shielded the rights of Afghans. I will always remain grateful to him for strengthening unity among the NDS personnel,” he remarked.

The former spy chief rejected the rumors that he had signed agreement with ISI during his tenure as the NDS chief, and said it was baseless.

Indirectly pointing at the new policy of the current government, he said you could perform better than the past governments and create a better template then avoid our government as a model to draw ideas from.

“When Afghanistan was under the dark and dominance of Pakistan through the Taliban, I had the pride of fighting for Afghanistan’s freedom under the command of the man who never went under the pressure of war and never compromised the identity of this soil. He used to say if he had just enough land even the size of a cap, he will never cease fighting against the enemies of this land,” Amrullah Saleh recalled.

“His [Massoud’s] combats and struggles strengthened the national identity of the country. Pakistani generals still consider the spread of his thought a potential threat,” he said.

“You will have watched interviews of Gen. Pervez Musharraf where he says Massoud’s photos are still in Kabul and held higher in esteem. He had such a powerful image and influence that even Pakistan’s military generals are afraid from just the pictures and photos of this great man,” Saleh concluded.

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