The bombing has focused new attention on the Haqqani network, an Afghan insurgent group that U.S. intelligence officials said is based in North Waziristan, has ties to members of the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency and probably played a key role in the suicide bombing.
The relative sophistication of the attack, especially in contrast to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines jet, suggests that the militants who been planned and ran it may have received some training or advice from rogue ISI officers, the officials said.
For example, they said, the bomber, 32-year-old Jordanian Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al Balawi, spent most of 2009 in Pakistan and traveled to Khost from Pakistan, and he managed to evade the counter-intelligence tools that customarily are used to assess whether a potential agent is reliable, they said.
“Pakistan has to decide whether Haqqani is an asset or a liability. At the moment, I think they’re veering towards liability, but it’s not clear,” said a Western official in Afghanistan, who couldn’t be named because he isn’t authorized to discuss the subject publicly. [continued…]