ISI Chief Asked to Quit; Had Links with IA Plane Hijacker

Press Trust of India
October 8, 2001

New Delhi, Oct. 8. (PTI): Pakistani Director-General of Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed, has been forced into retirement after FBI investigators established "credible links" between him and Umer Sheikh, one of the three militants released in exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane in 1999.

The FBI team, which had sought adequate inputs about various terrorists including Sheikh from the Intelligence agencies, was working on the linkages between Sheikh and Gen. Mahmud which are believed to have been substantiated.

Informed sources said there were enough indications with US Intelligence agencies that it was at Gen. Mahmud's instruction that Sheikh had transferred one lakh US dollars into the account of Mohammed Atta, one of the lead terrorists in strikes at the World Trade Center on September 11.

Prime Minister Vajpayee had also mentioned to British Prime Minister Tony Blair about the specific links between IC-814 hijacking and September 11 terrorist attacks. The Indian Intelligence agencies had also shared several inputs about the linkages between the hijacker and the ISI chief with the US and other western Intelligence groups, the sources said.

Sheikh was among the three militants released by the Indian Government after the IC-814 was hijacked to Kandahar in 1999. The other two were Maulana Masood Azhar and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar.


Copyright 2001

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