ISLAMABAD, Aug 16 : Pakistan's former spymaster Hamid Gul, who trained Afghan resistance fighters against the Soviets and helped create the Taliban, has died at the age of 79.
Gul headed Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency between 1987-89 during the final years of the Soviet occupation of neighbouring Afghanistan.
But in retirement he was still seen as reflecting the mindset of Pakistan's powerful military establishment and intelligence agency.
Gul died late Saturday at the Combined Military Hospital in the scenic hill resort of Murree north of Islamabad after suffering a brain haemorrhage, relatives said. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sent condolences to his family.
Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the country slid into anarchy. Taliban fighters trained in Pakistan gradually prised control from the Northern Alliance of commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, a national hero.
During this period, Gul maintained contacts with both sides in an unofficial role as mediator. ?AFP