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Report Slams Pakistan for Aiding Taliban

Islamabad ‘appears to be playing a double-game of astonishing magnitude’

By Jonathon Burch

June 13, 2010

KABUL — Pakistani military intelligence not only funds and trains Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but is officially represented on the movement’s leadership council, giving it significant influence over operations, a report released on Sunday said.

The report, published by the London School of Economics, a leading British institution, on Sunday, said research strongly suggested support for the Taliban was the “official policy” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).

Although links between the ISI and Islamist militants have been widely suspected for a long time, the report’s findings, which it said were corroborated by two senior Western security officials, could raise more concerns in the West over Pakistan’s commitment to help end the war in Afghanistan.

The report also said Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was reported to have visited senior Taliban prisoners in Pakistan earlier this year, where he is believed to have promised their release and help for militant operations, suggesting support for the Taliban “is approved at the highest level of Pakistan’s civilian government.” …

“Pakistan appears to be playing a double-game of astonishing magnitude,” said the report, based on interviews with Taliban commanders and former senior Taliban ministers as well as Western and Afghan security officials. …

Nevertheless, senior Western officials have been reluctant to talk publicly on the subject for fear of damaging possible cooperation from Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state Washington has propped up with billions of dollars in military and economic aid.

“The Pakistan government’s apparent duplicity — and awareness of it among the American public and political establishment — could have enormous geo-political implications,” said the report’s author, Matt Waldman, a fellow at Harvard University. …

More than 1,800 foreign troops, including some 1,100 Americans, have died in Afghanistan since U.S.-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban in late 2001. The war has already cost the United States around $300 billion and now costs more than $70 billion a year, the report said, citing 2009 U.S. Congressional research figures.

The report said interviews with Taliban commanders in some of the most violent regions in Afghanistan “suggest that Pakistan continues to give extensive support to the insurgency in terms of funding, munitions and supplies.”

“These accounts were corroborated by former Taliban ministers, a Western analyst and a senior U.N. official based in Kabul, who said the Taliban largely depend on funding from the ISI and groups in [Persian] Gulf countries,” the report said. …


London School of Economics report

The Sun in the Sky: The Relationship between Pakistan’s ISI and Afghan Insurgents

Matt Waldman
Matt Waldman



Battles with Taliban take heavy toll (NBC Nightly News, June 13, 2010) — Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division fight off a Taliban surprise attack on an American outpost in the Arghandab Valley. NBC’s Richard Engel reports. (03:52)


6/14/10 Update

Pakistani wanted by U.S. killed by improvised explosive device (Mushtaq Yusufzai, NBC News, June 14, 2010) — Pakistani militant commander, Qari Zafar, who was allegedly involved in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi on March 2, 2002, was killed by an explosive in North Waziristan a few days ago. The United States had announced $5 million award for his capture. Zafar belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and was wanted by the government for several terrorist attacks in Pakistan, including masterminding the Marriott Hotel bombing. His close aides confirmed he was killed as he touched some explosives dumped inside his guesthouse. … Full story


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — June 13, 2009

Afghanistan Security Incidents

One-year retrospective: One year ago today I featured the daily summary of security developments in Afghanistan, as reported by Reuters.

3 Responses to “Pakistan’s Taliban ‘Double Game’”
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