A former Central Intelligence Agency officer has confirmed US’ relations with the terrorist group Jundullah, despite the CIA knowing that the group has close links with the al-Qaeda.
“American intelligence has also had contact with Jundullah. But that contact, as Iran almost certainly knows, was confined to intelligence-gathering on the country,” Robert Baer, a former Middle East CIA field officer wrote on the Time.com, IRNA reported early on Saturday.
However, he noted that the US-Jundullah relationship “was never formalized, and contact was sporadic.”
The news comes amid US denial of any involvement in a recent terrorist attack in Sistan-Baluchestan province in southeastern Iran, which Jundullah claimed responsibility for.
“I’ve been told that the Bush Administration at one point considered Jundullah as a piece in a covert-action campaign against Iran, but the idea was quickly dropped because Jundullah was judged uncontrollable and too close to al-Qaeda. There was no way to be certain that Jundullah would not throw the bombs we paid for back at us,” said the former CIA agent who is a columnist in the weekly, and very probably an advisor in the Middle East.
Baer also noted that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has had relations with the Jundullah leader, Abdolmalek Rigi.
“Pakistani intelligence has indeed had contact with Jundullah over the years, but there’s no good evidence that Pakistan created Jundullah from scratch. And there’s certainly no evidence that Pakistan ordered the attack,” Baer said in reference to the terrorist attack that took place in Iran on Sunday, October 18, which killed 42 people including the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps commanders.
“In fact, Pakistani intelligence over the past few years has been arresting Jundullah members and turning them over to Iran,” he claimed.
This is while earlier on Friday, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi vowed to do everything in his power to hunt down the Jundullah terrorists and bring them to justice.
“This very incident unveiled the true nature of those who call themselves the pioneer in ‘war on terrorism’,” he said in reference to the United States.
A number of leading newspapers in the West, such as The Sunday Telegraph, have also declared Jundullah to be a CIA brainchild engineered to achieve the longstanding US goal of “regime change in Iran.”
Iran’s Interior Minister, Mustafa Mohammad Najjar, is currently in Islamabad to ask Pakistani officials to hand over Abdolmalek Rigi and assist Iran on cracking down on his terrorist group.