ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan's army chief named a general considered a hawk in the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban to head the country's powerful spy agency, asserting his control at a time of U.S. concern that rogue operatives are aiding Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.
Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha oversaw military offensives against militants in the lawless border regions with Afghanistan in his most recent job as director general of military operations.
His appointment as head of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, the country's main spy agency, was part of a broader shakeup of army top brass announced late Monday by Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
The moves were seen as a bid by the reform-minded general to revive the prestige of Pakistan's armed forces and assert control over the spy agency after the downfall of former President. Pervez Musharraf in August.
Pasha, who commanded U.N. troops in Sierra Leone in 2001-2002 and was appointed an adviser on peacekeeping operations last year, replaces Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj, a close aide to Musharraf.
Analysts agreed the appointment should unify Pakistan's antiterrorism fight.
"Now you have a team in place that includes the new ISI chief … who shares Kayani's view of how to deal with the insurgency in the tribal area and that is to adopt a tough line," said defense analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi.
The spy agency has helped kill or capture several top al-Qaida leaders since 2001, but there are lingering doubts about its loyalty because its agents helped build up the Taliban in the 1990s.