Washington: Pakistan's powerful ISI is providing safe haven to the Taliban leadership and the West need not mount a military operation to capture Mullah Omar as the elusive insurgent chief "is with them," according to Afghanistan's former spy chief.
The former head of Afghanistan's National Directorate Amrullah Saleh, who quit his post last year over disagreements with Hamid Karzai, said the Afghan President was working in greater collaboration with the Pakistani spy agency.
"To capture Mullah Omar and bring him to justice, they don't need a military operation. He is with them (ISI)," Saleh was quoted as saying by CNN.
Saleh, who presided over Afghanistan's main intelligence gathering agency from 2006 to 2010, said ISI provides safe haven to insurgent leadership.
Saleh, who many in Islamabad consider to be anti-Pakistani, said he brought "actionable intelligence" regarding the whereabouts of both Omar and al Qaeda's new chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
He maintains that both men remain in Pakistan, and that the US military "surge" has "failed" to provide stability to the region due to lack of Pakistani cooperation.
With the NATO drawdown and transition to national security forces now underway, Saleh says Karzai is pressing for a deal with the Taliban "at any cost."
Karzai, according to Saleh, has engaged in "a number of secret talks" with ISI chief Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, while also meeting with senior Pakistani leaders in an "unprecedented" amount of exchanges.
Karzai has long called for talks with Taliban leadership to end the decade-long conflict that has wrecked havoc in his country.