Despite Secretary of Defense Robert Gates publicly admitting that Blackwater was operating on the ground in Pakistan just weeks ago, Interior Minister Rehman Malik once again insisted that Blackwater in Pakistan was a “media myth.”
Malik claimed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency investigated and found no Blackwater personnel in the nation. Blackwater personnel have been repeatedly confirmed to be operating in Peshawar for months, patrolling University Town.
But Malik claims every confirmed sighting and even Gates’ public admission were all made up by the media as “hype” and he has insisted that Gates privately retracted his claims. Malik vowed to resign last year if it was ever proven that Blackwater was in Pakistan, and has faced growing calls to resign since Gates’ speech.
Though the exact size of the Blackwater contingent in Pakistan is unclear, one opposition politician claimed that it numbered into the thousands. At least publicly the Pakistani government has never issued them a license to operate in the nation, and the US insists the Blackwater personnel are not operating on America’s behalf.