The war in Iraq is "acting as a recruiting sergeant for extremists across the Muslim world," according to a document which the BBC says was obtained from the security service MI6. The leaked document also says Britain went into the war in Afghanistan "with its eyes closed."
The document also criticizes Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, for indirectly helping the Taliban and al-Qaida. British officials say the document is an unfinished research paper by a junior official — not an accepted part of the British government's policy.
Speaking to his ruling Labour Party's annual convention Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Blair dismissed any suggestion that British foreign policy was in any way connected to increased militancy in the Muslim world.
But last night, the BBC's Newsnight program said it had obtained a document written by a researcher for MI6, that concluded the exact opposite.
The document paints a bleak picture of British military and counterterrorism work, saying the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not going well, and that al-Qaida ideology had taken root in the Muslim world.
BBC reporter Richard Watson, who read the entire document, says there are remarkable similarities between it and a recent U.S. intelligence terrorism assessment, a summary of which was declassified this week
"One of most remarkable things," Watson says, "is frank admission that war on terror Afghan and Iraq has radicalized generation of Muslims across the world."
Britain's Ministry of Defense issued a strongly worded statement saying that the document was part of academic research — and did not represent the views of either the ministry, or the government. "To represent it as such is deeply irresponsible" the statement went on, "and the author is furious that his notes have been willfully misrepresented in this manner."
In criticizing Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency, the document calls for President Musharraf to disband the agency.