The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (more commonly known as just the Inter-Services Intelligence or simply by its initials ISI), is the premier intelligence service of Pakistan, operationally responsible for providing critical national security and intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan. The ISI is the largest of the three intelligence services of Pakistan, the others being the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Military Intelligence (MI). Previously in the 20th century, the ISI's work and activities have included the support of the Afghan mujahideen in then-communist Afghanistan against the Soviet Union in their war against the mujahideen (in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Agency) and later provided strategic and intelligence support to the Afghan Taliban against the Northern Alliance in the civil war in Afghanistan in the 1990s.
The ISI is the successor of the IB and MI formed after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 to co-ordinate and operate espionage activities for the three branches of the Pakistan Armed Forces. The ISI was established as an independent intelligence service in 1948 in order to strengthen the sharing of military intelligence between the three branches of Pakistan's armed forces in the aftermath of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, which had exposed weaknesses in intelligence gathering, sharing and coordination between the Army, Air Force and Navy. From its inception, the agency has been headed by an appointed three-star general officer in the Pakistan Army, despite officers from all three branches of the Pakistan Armed Forces being served and hired by the ISI. However, after the intelligence gathering and coordination failure during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee was created with a mandate to co-ordinate and supervise all military exercises and operations of the Pakistan Armed Forces.
The Chief of Army Staff recommends the names of the Director General who reports to Prime minister, but official confirmation and appointment is needed from the Prime minister. The ISI is headquartered in Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Venue, and is currently headed by Lieutenant-General Rizwan Akhter who replaced Zaheerul Islam in October 2014. The agency has an estimated strength of 10,000 officers and staff members, which does not include informants and assets
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