A declassified US diplomatic cable claiming Pakistani spies funded the suicide bombing of a CIA base in in 2009 were dismissed by Islamabad as “preposterous” on Friday.
The country’s foreign ministry said had been “shocked and deeply saddened when precious American lives” were lost at Forward Operating Base Chapman, a CIA listening post in eastern Afghanistan, on 30 December 2009.
The bomber, Humam Khalil Muhammed Abu Mulal al Balawi, after detonating his device inside the perimeter of the base where he had been expected for a meeting with agents who believed he was an informant working for them.
In fact the Jordanian national, a former online al-Qaida propagandist, was a “triple agent” who had turned against his handlers.
The version of events described in the heavily redacted cable, made public after freedom of information requests by the non-governmental research institution the National Security Archive, is at odds with most other accounts of the deadliest day in the CIA’s history.
It claims the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISIS), Pakistan’s top military spy agency, facilitated the attack with $200,000 paid to the Haqqani Network, an insurgent group allied to the Afghan Taliban, following a meeting with two Haqqani representatives.
Pakistan’s spies have long been accused of working hand in glove with the Haqqani Network, a group whose home turf includes Khost province where Chapman was located.
But many intelligence analysts believe the attack was mounted exclusively by al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), which took credit for the bombing.
On Friday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry highlighted the video released after the attack in which Balawi appeared alongside the then leader of the Pakistani Taliban Hakimullah Mehsud.
In the video Balawi said he carried out the attack to avenge the killing by a US drone of Mehsud’s brother Baitullah.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the country was “determined to eradicate the scourge of terrorism”.
“It would be further recalled that over the past years, Pakistan has through a series of military operations, severely damaged and weakened the TTP and other militant and terrorist organizations,” the foreign ministry statement said.