The death of Osama Bin Laden has had the world cheering, but this news is only an indicator of troubled times for the ISI. A source in the intelligence agency says that the ISI will find itself cornered and the days to come are only hard for them.
The death of Bin Laden will no doubt put the ISI in a very uncomfortable position among the Al-Qaeda, Haqqani network and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. Just when it would try and bring about some sanity in its circles post Bin Laden, the trial of both David Coleman Headley and Tahhawur Rana would commence thus causing more embarrasment for the ISI.
Indian agencies say that the ISI finds itself to be in the most difficult situation today as there will be a series of backlashes that they will have to face in the days to come. All the three terrorist groups mentioned above will have a score to settle with the ISI since they would feel betrayed by them due to the death of Bin Laden. Nothing in the Af-Pak region goes unnoticed by the ISI and if Bin Laden has managed to play hide and seek with the world it is only because of the blessings of the ISI that he always enjoyed. For the ISI Laden was a trump card and their most important soldier.
Although the US has claimed that the Pakistan was not in the know of this operation, the terror groups would not believe that. They are aware that nothing is possible unless there has been a certain degree of support from the establishment. Moreover Bin Laden was living in a place close to the army headquarters in Pakistan and this is not a fact which would have gone unnoticed by the ISI. The Pakstan military largely depends on the intelligence provided by the ISI and hence all these movements and operations are well known to the establishment.
The biggest backlash would however be from the Haqqani network with which the ISI has been toying. The ISI had managed to get this network into the Al-Qaeda network. This had worked well for the ISI which had managed to set up a very strong force. Both the Haqqani network and the Al-Qaeda would have expected more protection for Osama and today would feel betrayed that their leader has been killed.
The other embrassment that the ISI would face is post May 15 when Headley and Rana go on trial. Rana in particular had in his defence claimed that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba had nothing to do with the 26/11 attack and it was the ISI which was part of the planning since day one. The ISI has been extremely worried about this since the news broke out and has been trying to exert a lot of pressure through diplomatic channels to avoid any such statement coming out. If Rana claims are accepted by the court then may high ranking officials will have to stand trial and this in turn would mean that the Pakistan establishment has sponsored such a gruesome attack on Indian soil.
Indian agencies feel that the first step by the ISI would be to rally its troops together and assure them that the war could still go on. However terrorist groups would settle for nothing less than revenge and the ISI would need to play along to keep them amused. This would mean trouble since the ISI is expected to give them a free hand to stage attacks. There is very little that the ISI will be able to do and the kind of grip that they enjoyed in the past over these groups may be loosening after the death of Osama.
The strategy that the ISI would adopt in the days to come would be interesting. On one hand they cannot go all out in the wake of the trial against Headley and Rana. On the other hand they will need to allow attacks to take place to keep the terror groups united. However in all probability they will give the terror groups a go by and use the Osama death as an excuse, Indian agencies say.