Pakistani agents 'funding and training Afghan Taliban'

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ajtr, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Pakistani agents 'funding and training Afghan Taliban'


    Pakistani intelligence gives funding, training and sanctuary to the Afghan Taliban on a scale much larger than previously thought, a report says.

    Taliban field commanders interviewed for the report suggested that ISI intelligence agents even attend Taliban supreme council meetings.

    Support for the Afghan Taliban was "official ISI policy", the London School of Economics (LSE) authors suggest.

    Pakistan's military denied the claims.

    A spokesman said the allegations were "rubbish" and part of a malicious campaign against the country's military and security agencies.

    The LSE report comes at the end of one of the deadliest weeks for Nato troops in Afghanistan, with more than 30 soldiers killed.

    'Double game'
    Links between the Taliban and Pakistan's intelligence service have long been suspected, but the report's author - Harvard analyst Matt Waldman - says there is real evidence of extensive co-operation between the two."This goes far beyond just limited, or occasional support," he said. "This is very significant levels of support being provided by the ISI.

    "We're also saying this is official policy of that agency, and we're saying that it is very extensive. It is both at an operational level, and at a strategic level, right at the senior leadership of the Taliban movement."

    Mr Waldman spoke to nine Taliban field commanders in Afghanistan earlier this year.

    Some alleged that ISI agents had even attended meetings of the Taliban's top leadership council, the so-called Quetta shura. They claim that by backing the insurgents Pakistan's security service is trying to undermine Indian influence in Afghanistan."These accounts were corroborated by former Taliban ministers, a Western analyst and a senior UN official based in Kabul, who said the Taliban largely depend on funding from the ISI and groups in Gulf countries," the report said.

    With US troops due to begin leaving next year, Pakistan and other regional players are increasingly seeking ways to assert their influence in Afghanistan, analysts say.

    Pakistan has long been accused of using the Taliban to further its foreign policy interests in the country. The ISI first became involved in funding and training militants in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion in 1979.

    Since 2001, however, it has been a key US ally, receiving billions of dollars in aid in return for helping fight al-Qaeda

    "Pakistan appears to be playing a double-game of astonishing magnitude," the report says.

    'No proof'
    But Islamabad says it is working with its international partners in hunting down the Taliban.

    And the Taliban's former ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, says there is no proof of a link between the ISI and the Afghan Taliban.

    "I have no proof that Pakistan is supporting the Taliban," he told the BBC, "or that the ISI is providing money to them... or other support to provide weapons."

    Even so, Pakistan's role in Afghanistan is viewed as critical.

    Last week Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh resigned, saying he had become an obstacle to plans to talk to the Taliban.

    Mr Saleh told Reuters news agency a day after quitting that the ISI was "part of the landscape of destruction" in Afghanistan and accused Pakistan of sheltering Taliban leaders in safe houses.

    Pakistan has always denied such claims and points to arrests and military offensives against the militants on its side of the border. Nevertheless, parts of the tribal north-west of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan remain strongholds for the militants.

    The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says there is a growing understanding that military action alone will not be enough to bring peace in Afghanistan.

    "Without a change in Pakistani behaviour it will be difficult if not impossible for international forces and the Afghan government to make progress against the insurgency," the report concludes.
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Pakistan puppet masters guide the Taliban killers

    Miles Amoore, Kabul
    RECOMMEND? (8)
    THE Taliban commander waited at the ramshackle border crossing while Pakistani police wielding assault rifles stopped and searched the line of cars and trucks travelling into Afghanistan.

    Some of the trucks carried smuggled goods — DVD players, car stereos, television sets, generators, children’s toys. But the load smuggled by Taliban fighter Qari Rasoul, a thickset Pashtun from Afghanistan’s Wardak province, was altogether more sinister.

    Rasoul’s boot was full of remote-control triggers used to detonate the home-made bombs responsible for the vast majority of Nato casualties in Afghanistan. The three passengers sitting in his white Toyota estate were suicide bombers.

    The policemen flagged down Rasoul’s car and began to search it. They soon found the triggers, hidden beneath a bundle of clothes in the back of the estate. They asked him who he was and who the triggers belonged to. “I’m a Taliban commander. They belong to me,” he told them.

    Instead of arresting him, the elder policeman rubbed his thumb and index finger together and, smiling, said: “Try to understand.”

    Rasoul phoned a Pakistani friend. Two hours later he was released, having paid the policemen 5,000 Pakistani rupees, the equivalent of about £40, each.

    “That was the only time I ever faced problems crossing the border with Pakistan,” said Rasoul, who is responsible for delivering suicide bombers trained in Pakistani camps to targets in Afghanistan.

    Pakistani support for the Taliban in Afghanistan runs far deeper than a few corrupt police officers, however. The Sunday Times can reveal that it is officially sanctioned at the highest levels of Pakistan’s government.

    Pakistan’s own intelligence agency, the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), is said to be represented on the Taliban’s war council — the Quetta shura. Up to seven of the 15-man shura are believed to be ISI agents.

    The former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, Amrullah Saleh, who resigned last week, said: “The ISI is part of the landscape of destruction in this country, no doubt, so it will be a waste of time to provide evidence of ISI involvement. They are a part of it.”

    Testimony by western and Afghan security officials, Taliban commanders, former Taliban ministers and a senior Taliban emissary show the extent to which the ISI manipulates the Taliban’s strategy in Afghanistan.

    Pakistani support for the Taliban is prolonging a conflict that has cost the West billions of dollars and hundreds of lives. Last week 32 Nato soldiers were killed.

    According to a report published today by the London School of Economics, which backs up months of research by this newspaper, “Pakistan appears to be playing a double game of astonishing magnitude” in Afghanistan.

    The report’s author, Matt Waldman, a Harvard analyst, argues that previous studies significantly underestimated the influence that Pakistan’s ISI exerts over the Taliban. Far from being the work of rogue elements, interviews suggest this “support is official ISI policy”, he says.

    The LSE report, based on dozens of interviews and corroborated by two senior western security officials, states: “As the provider of sanctuary and substantial financial, military and logistical support to the insurgency, the ISI appears to have strong strategic and operational influence — reinforced by coercion. There is thus a strong case that the ISI orchestrates, sustains and shapes the overall insurgent campaign.”

    The report also alleges that Asif Ali Zardari, the president of Pakistan, recently met captured Taliban leaders to assure them that the Taliban had his government’s full support. This was vigorously denied by Zardari’s spokesman. Pakistani troops have launched offensives against militants in North and South Waziristan.

    However, a senior Taliban source in regular contact with members of the Quetta shura told The Sunday Times that in early April, Zardari and a senior ISI official met 50 high-ranking Taliban members at a prison in Pakistan.

    According to a Taliban leader in the jail at the time, five days before the meeting prison officials were told to prepare for the impending presidential call. Prison guards wearing dark glasses served the Taliban captives traditional Afghan meals three times a day.

    “They wanted to make the prisoners feel like they were important and respected,” the source said.

    Hours before Zardari’s visit, the head warder told the Taliban inmates to impress upon the president how well they had been looked after during their time in captivity.

    Zardari spoke to them for half an hour. He allegedly explained that he had arrested them because his government was under increasing American pressure to end the sanctuary enjoyed by the Taliban in Pakistan and to round up their ringleaders.

    “You are our people, we are friends, and after your release we will of course support you to do your operations,” he said, according to the source.

    He vowed to release the less well-known commanders in the near future and said that the “famous” Taliban leaders would be freed at a later date.

    Five days after Zardari’s visit, a handful of Taliban prisoners, including The Sunday Times’s source, were driven into Quetta and set free, in line with the president’s pledge.

    “This report is consistent with Pakistan’s political history in which civilian leaders actively backed jihadi groups that operate in Afghanistan and Kashmir,” Waldman said.

    According to the source, during his visit to the prison Zardari also met Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s former second in command, who was arrested by the ISI earlier this year with seven other Taliban leaders.

    Baradar, who is from the same tribe as Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, had allegedly approached the Afghan government to discuss the prospect of a peace settlement between the two sides.

    Baradar’s arrest is seen in both diplomatic and Taliban circles as an ISI plot to manipulate the Taliban’s political hierarchy and also to block negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban leadership.

    Shortly after Baradar’s arrest the ISI arrested two other Taliban members — Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir and his close associate and friend Mullah Abdul Rauf. Both men were released after just two nights in custody.

    Following his release, Zakir, who spent years in custody in Guantanamo Bay, assumed command of the Taliban’s military wing, replacing Baradar. Rauf, also a former Guantanamo inmate, was immediately appointed chairman of the Quetta shura.

    “To say the least, this is compelling evidence of significant ISI influence over the movement and it is highly likely that the release was on ISI terms or at least on the basis of a mutual understanding,” the LSE report states.

    The promotions of Zakir and Rauf will give Pakistan greater leverage over future peace talks, Taliban and western officials said.

    To ensure that the Pakistani government retains its influence over the Taliban’s leadership, the ISI has placed its own representatives on the Quetta shura, according to these officials.

    Up to seven of the Afghan Taliban leaders who sit on the 15-man shura are believed to be ISI agents. However, some sources maintain that every member of the shura has ISI links.

    “It is impossible to be a member of the Quetta shura without membership of the ISI,” said a senior Taliban intermediary who liaises with the Afghan government and Taliban leaders.

    The LSE report states: “Interviews strongly suggest that the ISI has representatives on the shura, either as participants or observers, and the agency is thus involved at the highest levels of the movement.”

    The two shura members who receive the strongest support from the ISI are Taib Agha, former spokesman for Mullah Omar, the Taliban supreme leader, and Mullah Hasan Rahmani, the former Taliban governor of Kandahar, according to the Taliban intermediary and western officials.

    Strategies that the ISI encourages, according to Taliban commanders, include: cutting Nato’s supply lines by bombing bridges and roads; attacking key infrastructure projects; assassinating progovernment tribal elders; murdering doctors and teachers; closing schools and attacking schoolgirls.

    ISI agents hand chits to Taliban commanders who use them to buy weapons at arms dumps in North Waziristan.

    The Taliban’s “plastic bombs” — the low metal content improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that kill the majority of British soldiers who die in Afghanistan — were introduced to the Taliban by Pakistani officials, according to Taliban commanders, the Taliban intermediary and western officials. The materials allow Taliban sappers to plant bombs that can evade Nato mine detectors.

    Rasoul, the Taliban commander from Wardak province, also alleged that the ISI pays 200,000 Pakistani rupees (£1,600) in compensation to the families of suicide bombers who launch attacks on targets in Afghanistan.

    “They need vehicles, fuel and food. They need ammunition. They need money and guns. They need clinics and medicine. So who is providing these things to the Taliban if it’s not Pakistan?” a former Kabul police chief said.

    In the eastern province of Khost, one commander described how Pakistani military trucks picked his men up from training camps in Pakistan and ferried them to the Afghan border at night.

    Once at the border, Pakistanis dressed in military uniform gave the commander a list of targets inside Afghanistan. Taliban fighters then ferried the weapons and ammunition into Afghanistan using cars, donkeys, horses and camels.

    “We post our men along our supply routes to protect the convoys once they are on Afghan turf,” said the Khost commander. “The [US] drones sometimes bomb our convoys and many times they have bombed our ammo stores.”

    Camps within Pakistan train Taliban fighters in three different sets of skills: suicide bombing, bomb-making and infantry tactics. Each camp focuses on a different skill.

    Pakistan’s support for the Taliban has sparked friction between the home-grown Taliban groups and those who are bankrolled to a greater extent by the ISI.

    Many lower-level commanders in Afghanistan are angered by the degree to which the ISI dictates their operations
    .

    “The ISI-backed Taliban are destroying the country. Their suicide bombings are the ones that kill innocent civilians. They are undoing the infrastructure with their attacks,” said a Taliban commander from Kandahar province.

    Most commanders said they resented their comrades who received the largest slice of ISI support. They also said they knew about the ISI’s influence over their senior leadership. “There is already mistrust among the low-level fighters and commanders,” the Taliban intermediary said. “But they don’t really know the extent of it. They don’t believe that our leaders are ISI spies.”

    Major-General Athar Abbas, Pakistan’s senior military spokesman, called the claim that the ISI has representatives on the Quetta shura “ridiculous”. He said: “The allegations are absolutely baseless.”

    Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for the Pakistani president, said: “There’s no such thing as President Zardari meeting Taliban leaders. This never happened.”

    To see the full London School of Economics report, go to thesundaytimes.co.uk/world

    The key player

    Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) became enmeshed in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion in 1979. The CIA used it to channel covert funds and weapons to Afghan mujaheddin groups fighting the Soviet army during the 10-year conflict.

    A decisive factor in the Soviet defeat was the CIA’s decision to provide surface- to-air Stinger missiles.

    Saudi Arabia, which, from the mid-1980s matched American funding for the insurgency dollar for dollar, also used the ISI to channel funds to the mujaheddin.

    The American effort was promoted and supported by the late Texas congressman Charles Wilson, who fought to raise awareness and cash for the Afghan cause in the United States. His role was portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie Charlie Wilson’s War.

    The ISI continued to support groups of Afghan fighters long after the Russian withdrawal in 1989, often providing backing for brutal warlords in an attempt to install a pro-Pakistani government in Kabul.

    The ISI backed the Taliban during their rise to power between 1994 and 1996. Pakistan’s prime minister at the time, Benazir Bhutto, believed the Taliban could stabilise Afghanistan.
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Report says Pakistan meddling in Afghanistan


    (Reuters) - 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 said.

    WORLD

    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 (ISI) agency.

    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."

    In Islamabad, a Pakistani presidential spokeswoman, Farah Ispahani, dismissed the allegations in the report as "absolutely spurious." She said there "seems to be a concentrated effort to try to damage the new Pakistan-American strategic dialogue."

    Militants were feeling the pressure, she added, because "we will rout them from every area of Pakistan we find them in."

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

    In March 2009, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, said they had indications elements in the ISI supported the Taliban and al Qaeda and said the agency must end such activities.

    Western officials have been reluctant to talk publicly on the subject for fear of damaging 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.

    "Without a change in Pakistani behavior it will be difficult if not impossible for international forces and the Afghan government to make progress against the insurgency," Waldman said in the report.

    The report comes at the end of one of the bloodiest weeks for foreign troops in Afghanistan -- more than 30 were killed in combat or accidents -- and at a time when the insurgency is at its most violent.

    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.

    VIOLENT REGIONS

    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 Gulf countries," the report said.

    Almost all of the Taliban commanders interviewed in the report believed the ISI was represented on the Quetta Shura, the Taliban's supreme leadership council based in Pakistan.

    "Interviews strongly suggest that the ISI has representatives on the (Quetta) Shura, either as participants or observers, and the agency is thus involved at the highest level of the movement," the report said.

    The report also said Zardari, and a senior ISI official, allegedly visited some 50 senior Taliban prisoners at a secret location in Pakistan where he told them they had been arrested only because he was under pressure from the United States.

    "(This) suggests that the policy is approved at the highest level of Pakistan's civilian government," the report said.

    Afghanistan has also been highly critical of Pakistan's ISI involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan. Last week, the former director of Afghanistan's intelligence service, Amrullah Saleh, resigned saying he had become an obstacle to President Hamid Karzai's plans to negotiate with the insurgents.

    In an exclusive interview with Reuters at his home a day after he resigned, Saleh said the ISI was "part of the landscape of destruction in this country."

    "It will be a waste of time to provide evidence of ISI involvement. They are a part of it. The Pakistani army of which ISI is a part, they know where the Taliban leaders are -- in their safe houses," he told Reuters.
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Report slams Pakistan for meddling in Afghanistan



    KABUL: Pakistani military intelligence not only funds and trains Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but is officially represented on the movement's leadership council, giving in significant influence over operations, a report 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).

    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.

    A Pakistani diplomatic source described that report as “naive”, and also said any talks with the Taliban were up to the Afghan government.

    “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.

    “Without a change in Pakistani behaviour it will be difficult if not impossible for international forces and the Afghan government to make progress against the insurgency,” Waldman said in the report.

    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 UN official based in Kabul, who said the Taliban largely depend on funding from the ISI and groups in Gulf countries,” the report said.

    A spokesman for Pakistan's military said the claims were "rubbish" and part of a malicious campaign against the country's military and security agencies.

    Afghanistan has also been highly critical of Pakistan's ISI involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan. Last week, the former director of Afghanistan's intelligence service, Amrullah Saleh, resigned saying he had become an obstacle to President Hamid Karzai's plans to negotiate with the insurgents.

    Since January, President Hamid Karzai has been arguing to remove all Taliban names from the blacklist.

    A 27-member delegation from the UN Security Council’s Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee is in Kabul on a three-day visit to study the composition of the terrorist blacklist and make recommendations to the Security Council about possible changes.

    According to a New York Times report, Karzai has suggested that de-listing should include even the Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar and the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The report also stated that it was believed that Karzai’s support for the quick release of detained insurgents may be linked to "his abrupt decision last week to dismiss his interior minister and the head of the Afghan intelligence service, both of whom opposed indiscriminate prisoner releases."
     
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    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Truth is out: report says Pak backs Taliban


    Kabul: Pakistani military intelligence not only funds and trains Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but is officially represented on the movement's leadership council, giving in significant influence over operations, a report 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".
    A Pakistani diplomatic source described that report as "naive", and also said any talks with the Taliban were up to the Afghan 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.
    In March 2009, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, said they had indications elements in the ISI supported the Taliban and al Qaeda and said the agency must end such activities.
    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.
    "Without a change in Pakistani behaviour it will be difficult if not impossible for international forces and the Afghan government to make progress against the insurgency," Waldman said in the report.
    The report comes at the end of one of the bloodiest weeks for foreign troops in Afghanistan -- more than 21 have been killed this week -- and at a time when the insurgency is at its most violent.
    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 0 billion and now costs more than billion a year, the report said, citing 2009 U.S. Congressional research figures.
    Violent regions
    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 Gulf countries," the report said.
    Almost all of the Taliban commanders interviewed in the report also believed the ISI was represented on the Quetta Shura, the Taliban's supreme leadership council based in Pakistan.
    "Interviews strongly suggest that the ISI has representatives on the (Quetta) Shura, either as participants or observers, and the agency is thus involved at the highest level of the movement," the report said.
    The report also stated that Pakistani President Zardari, along with a senior ISI official, allegedly visited some 50 senior Taliban prisoners at a secret location in Pakistan where he told them they had been arrested only because he was under pressure from the United States.
    "(This) suggests that the policy is approved at the highest level of Pakistan's civilian government," the report said.
    Afghanistan has also been highly critical of Pakistan's ISI involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan. Last week, the former director of Afghanistan's intelligence service, Amrullah Saleh, resigned saying he had become an obstacle to President Hamid Karzai's plans to negotiate with the insurgents.
    In an exclusive interview with Reuters at his home a day after he resigned, Saleh said the ISI was "part of the landscape of destruction in this country".
    "It will be a waste of time to provide evidence of ISI involvement. They are a part of it. The Pakistani army of which ISI is a part, they know where the Taliban leaders are -- in their safe houses," he told Reuters.
     
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    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Pakistan spy agency accused over Taliban

    Inter-Services Intelligence agency denies LSE report (pdf) saying it is 'arming and funding' Afghan Taliban

    Pakistani intelligence is so deeply involved in the arming and funding of the Afghan Taliban that it holds a seat on the militant leadership council and has sent the president, Asif Ali Zardari, to make prison visits to captured leaders, a report by the London School of Economics has said.

    Researcher Matt Waldman said Pakistani support for the insurgency was "official" policy, implemented by the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency in the form of money, weapons and training.

    "Pakistan appears to be playing a double game of astonishing magnitude," the report, which cited interviews with unnamed Taliban commanders and western officials, said.

    An ISI official in Islamabad described the report as "rubbish". "It's not even worth commenting on. It's speculative at best and downright degrading at worst," he said.

    ISI links to the Afghan Taliban have been frequently reported – but rarely to the extent claimed in the document, which said the spy agency had official representation on the Quetta shura, the 15-man leadership council, based in western Pakistan.

    Claims of civilian collusion were equally striking. Citing a Taliban source, the report said that, in late March or early April, Zardari met 50 top-ranking Taliban members at a secret prison in Pakistan.

    According to the report, he told them: "You are our people, we are friends, and after your release we will of course support you to do your operations." Three days later, a dozen Taliban prisoners were released.

    Farahnaz Ispahani, a media adviser to Zardari, said: "Not only are these allegations totally unfounded, they are quite outrageous. President Zardari's commitment to fighting terrorism and militancy in all forms is well documented."

    The allegations may heighten tensions between Pakistan, Afghanistan and western countries at a time when the cost of the Afghan war is mounting.

    Since 2001, thousands of Afghans and 1,800 foreign troops, 295 of them British, have died. The conflict has cost the US government $300bn (£206bn), with spending now running at $70bn a year.

    The report, whose findings are based largely on unnamed sources, said Pakistan gives "extensive support to the insurgency in terms of funding, munitions and supplies".

    One Taliban commander said his fighters received $120 per month from Pakistan, while others said the ISI was covering their families' living costs in Pakistan.

    One interviewee said an ISI official had trained him to make suicide vests and car bombs in South Waziristan in 2005.

    "The man was definitely ISI, he told us," he was quoted as saying. "When some of our friends were arrested by the Pakistani authorities, he went and got them freed."

    Other interviewees appeared prone to conspiracy theories. One said the ISI support originally came from the US government – a reflection, the report said, of the $12bn in military aid the US has given Pakistan since 2001.

    The report also revived allegations of links between Pakistani intelligence and Jalaluddin Haqqani, an al-Qaida linked warlord whose territory stretches into North Waziristan.

    The report said there was "apparently a number of small, covert Haqqani bases in North Waziristan and Korram agencies, and Quetta, staffed by serving or former Pakistani military officials. They are often combined with a madrasa, provide a broad-based military training, and include suicide bomber cells".

    The controversial document comes at a time of great sensitivity, as regional and western parties to the Afghan conflict jockey for position in anticipation of peace talks with the Taliban.

    Senior British officials favour negotiations, some Americans believe in fighting, and the government of the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, is increasingly fractured.

    Last week, the long-time head of Afghan intelligence, Amrullah Saleh, resigned from his post, saying he had become an obstacle to Karzai's plans to negotiate with the militants via Pakistan.
     
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    Insurgent commander tells of links with Pakistani intelligence service

    Taliban commander speaks of his unease at the role of ISI's influence

    Jon Boone
    guardian.co.uk, Sunday 13 June 2010 20.04 BST
    Article history
    For a Taliban commander fighting well-resourced foreign forces, help from the Pakistani intelligence service is a shameful necessity.

    In a sign of how freely insurgents – or at least unarmed ones – can move around even the most heavily policed areas of the most sensitive parts of the Afghan capital, Kabul, the militant agreed to meet the Guardian in one of Kabul's ritziest restaurants, in a hotel-shopping complex, where he bemoaned the ISI's influence.

    "Whoever disrespects your country and interferes in it is your enemy, but sometimes you need to ask for help from your enemies," said the wiry 52-year-old, as he scooped up food with bark-like hands, hardened by his day job as a farmer.

    None of the well-heeled Afghan diners and foreign contractors batted an eyelid as the thickly bearded man – who cannot be named – helped himself to rice and barbecue chicken from the buffet.

    Because of orders "from superiors" to talk to foreign media, he had been prepared to travel by taxi for several hours from his village. He passed easily through the extra security laid on for the second day of President Hamid Karzai's peace jirga – a gathering he said was controlled by the Afghan president's foreign backers and was therefore pointless.

    Two nights earlier, the commander and his band of a dozen insurgents in Wardak province, just south of the capital, had attacked members of a local US-backed militia. They successfully blew up their Ford Ranger truck, killing one militiaman and wounding three others.

    As with the nine Taliban field commanders who met the author of the LSE report on the ISI's connections to the Taliban, he spoke freely about his unease at the role of Pakistan's spy agency, which he blamed for attacks where ordinary Afghans were killed or hurt.

    He said: "We do everything we can to avoid civilian causalities. But there are different types of Taliban – there are those like me and there are those that follow direction from the ISI. Those are the kind that kill elders and attack schools. They don't want to have schools in this society. They want to keep Afghanistan in the darkness of no education."

    Some western officials hope that such anti-Pakistani sentiment will encourage some insurgents to stop fighting as part of a "reconciliation" process. One senior diplomat recently said that the two greatest inducements to Taliban fighters were the opportunity to return home from Pakistan and to get out of the grip of the ISI.

    The arrest in Pakistan of a former senior Taliban commander, Mullah Baradar, in February is now regarded by analysts as a bid by the ISI to prevent the Afghan Taliban from unilaterally opening peace talks with Karzai's government.

    The commander who spoke to the Guardian interpreted things slightly differently, but still saw it as an example of Pakistan's untrustworthiness. "They handed over one of best operations people in exchange for lots of dollars," he said.

    "On the one side they are helping us, but on the other side when the Americans pay more money they hand him over."

    A former head of vehicle registration for Kabul during the Taliban regime of the late 1990s, he said he only joined the insurgency to "protect myself and my country against foreign troops".

    For a couple of years after the Taliban regime was toppled by the US-led invasion in 2001 he remained out of the fight, gradually becoming increasingly sceptical about a government that appeared to be corrupt and incapable of delivering on its promises.

    But it was when people started being arrested during raids by US soldiers hunting for al-Qaida and the Taliban that he felt he had no choice but to join the insurgents.

    "I had no choice; where else could I get money and bullets to protect myself and my family? Imagine if I was taken during a night raid by the Americans to Bagram or Guantánamo? Then my honour and religion would be at risk."
     
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/06/13/pakistan-funds-influences-taliban-afghanistan-report-says/

    I am stunned. What a surprise.... :roll: :oops:

     
  15. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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  16. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The Afghan War nears end with Pakistan-aided Taliban victory​

    The allies owe their reverses to five factors: Postponement of the Kandahar offensive, Taliban's acquisition of anti-air missiles and ability to strike anywhere in Kabul, the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Agency's extensive support for the Taliban, and a UN proposal to "de-list" some key Taliban and al Qaeda figures designated as terrorists. debkafile elaborates on these factors:

    1. The big Kandahar offensive in southern Afghanistan this month, the centerpiece of the new strategy President Barack Obama approved last December along with a 40,000-troop surge, has been postponed until the fall - at the earliest. With the participation of American, British, Canadian and Afghan forces, this offensive was billed as the operation for turning the tide of the Afghanistan war.

    Washington was understandably reluctant to announce the postponement although, according to debkafile's military analysts, it was unavoidable after the disappointment of Operation Mushtarak in Marjah, which was to have been a dress rehearsal in another part of the South, Helmand Province, for the big show in Kandahar.
    In Marjah, the combined US-UK force and the Afghan army, which most of the time refused to fight, were unable to loosen the Taliban's grip on the town or prevent the insurgents from using it as a springboard for grabbing the whole of southern Afghanistan.
    Sunday, June 13, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal paid a visit to Kandahar to assure the local tribes they had not been abandoned. Karzai spoke with gusto about the coming offensive; he only "forgot" to mention a date.
    With the Kandahar delay, the bottom is about to drop out of Obama's overall war strategy.
    2. Another deadly turning-point in the conflict was marked last week with the discovery that Taliban had acquired the missiles for downing Western helicopters and low-flying aircraft.
    The British Prime Minister David Cameron had to cancel his helicopter flight to the main British base of Camp Bastion on June 12 after receiving intelligence that the Taliban was preparing to shoot it down.
    Three days earlier, on June 9, an American Chinook crashed near Sangin in the Helmand Province killing all four US servicemen aboard. It was then that US and NATO commanders first realized that an unknown party had given the Taliban those anti-air missiles and instructed them in their use.
    This means that US helicopters can no longer provide ground forces with close air support and must fly at higher altitudes out of missile range.

    3. In their White House talks of May 10-14,Karzai and Obama glossed over their differences by agreeing that the Afghan president would convene a "peace jirga" (a conference of tribal leaders) that would include chieftains and commanders associated with the Taliban as the first step toward national reconciliation.
    The conference did take off in Kabul on June 2, attended by 1,400 heads of tribes and factions. But when President Karzai's speech was in full flow, Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen burst in, hurling rockets and grenades. The President just managed to finish his speech before being whisked off the platform by security guards and driven away in a convoy of armored cars.
    The tribal chiefs saw for themselves that neither Afghan nor American forces were capable of promising security for any peace conference, whereas the Taliban were clearly able to operate freely in the Afghan capital and any other part of the country.
    4. At the same time, Staffan de Mistura, the top U.N. representative in Afghanistan, put in a good word for the Taliban when he told reporters Saturday, June 12. "The U.N. is listening to what the peace jirga is saying. Some of the people in the list may not be alive anymore. The list may be completely outdated."

    Fueling momentum for a political solution to the nearly nine-year-old Afghan war, a U.N. committee is reviewing whether certain people could be removed from blacklist that freezes assets and limits travel of key Taliban and al-Qaida figures, the top U.N. representative said Saturday.
    5. On Sunday, June 13, The Sunday Times of London ran a long article under the heading: Pakistan puppet masters guide the Taliban killers. It was based on a new report by the London School of Economics according to which Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency is providing extensive funding, training and sanctuary to the Taliban in Afghanistan. The report cites concrete evidence suggesting that support for the Taliban is the "official policy" of the ISI, which not only trains and funds the Afghan insurgents, but is officially represented on the their leadership council.

    Washington was shocked by this evidence so soon after President Asif Ali Zardar assured President Obama when they met in Washington last month that he could count on the commitment of the Pakistani government and intelligence resources to fight Taliban and al Qaeda, as a solid prop of US strategy for the Afghan war.
    But all the time, it transpired, behind their false face to US military and intelligence chiefs, the ISI has been collaborating with Taliban commanders in their operational planning and selection of targets, supplying them with weapons, explosives and roadside bombs and making grants to the bereaved families of suicide killers who murdered American and British troops.

    According to the LSE report, half at least of the 15 members of the Taliban's Quetta Shura (the council which runs the war from its seat in Quetta, the capital of Pakistani Baluchistan) are active officers of Pakistani military intelligence.
    "It is impossible to be a member of the Quetta Shura without membership of the ISI," said a high-ranking Taliban fighter.
    Given the depth of the ISI's integration in the Afghanistan Taliban's war effort against NATO, the US military might as well drop their efforts to cut the Afghan Taliban's weapons supply route from Pakistan.
    The revelations of the LSE are not new, debkafile reports, except for the fact that a prominent Western publication was willing to print them.
    They were covered fairly exhaustively in previous issues of DEBKA-Net-Weekly in the past two years.
    Most recently, on February 28, 2010, DNW 434 exposed a shady Pakistan intrigue behind the handover to the Americans of Abdul Ghani Baradar, whom they represented as Mullah Omar's first lieutenant the lost of whom would seriously impair Taliban's fighting ability - so they claimed
    It was in fact an ISI trick. Baradar was no longer important to the Taliban and his handover no great loss because he had turned coat and was looking for an opening for peace talks with the Americans. The ISI needed to get rid of him before he succeeded to keep the Afghan War on the boil, because as long as it lasts, both the Taliban and the Americans will be dependent on Islamabad and the Pakistanis will carry on pulling wires and playing one side against the other.

    The longer the Obama administration clings to the assumption that cooperation with Pakistan and its intelligence agency is the only course for beating the Taliban and al Qaeda, the more elusive an Afghanistan triumph will be for the US and its allies.
     
  17. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    NightWatch for 06/13/2010

    Pakistan: Comment: The London School of Economics' report about the Pakistani intelligence service providing support to the Taliban received much attention. It is based on less than a dozen interviews of field commanders and one mid-level official done in February and March 2010. Their assertions of Pakistani intelligence involvement are information conjectural and not based on direct evidence or observation, according to the report itself.

    The report does not establish with credibility the nature of the relationship between the Taliban and Pakistani intelligence, which is its stated purpose. However, it is a reminder that the Taliban insurgency is financed, armed and supplied from and through Pakistan. Without Pakistan as a secure safehaven and base, the Afghanistan insurgency would degenerate into an organized crime problem. Whatever Pakistan has done to improve security conditions in its territory, it has done nothing to impede the river of supply that feeds the Taliban insurgency and runs through Pakistan.

    The Taliban supply system must be one of the largest employers in Pakistan, paralleling and feeding off the US/NATO supply system, which probably explains why more trucks are not destroyed in Pakistan. The Taliban rely on them too.
     
  18. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Pakistan support keeps Taliban alive: Former diplomat

    By BRIAN LILLEY, QMI AGENCY
    Last Updated: June 14, 2010 8:05pm

    OTTAWA – Pakistan must stop helping the Taliban if Afghanistan is to ever see peace, said a former Canadian and United Nations diplomat.

    Christopher Alexander who spent six years working in Afghanistan — first as Canada's ambassador, and then as a UN envoy — says the Taliban would have folded up shop by now were it not for the support given to the insurgency group by Pakistan's military establishment, especially the Directorate for Inter-Service Intelligence.

    Alexander made the explosive comments Monday before the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence.

    The former diplomat and now declared candidate for the Conservative Party said the world needs to be open and frank about Pakistan's role in Afghanistan's ongoing struggle.

    Pakistan has several seats on local military councils that plan the insurgency throughout Afghanistan, said Alexander.

    “These networks, whose leadership, fundraising, training, bomb-making, supply and planning centres are based overwhelming on the territory of Pakistan, constitute the primary threat to peace and security in Afghanistan today.”

    As for the Taliban's role in recent peace talks with the Karzai government, Alexander said: "The Taliban doesn't want peace. They don't want a piece of the pie; they want to blow up the pie."
     

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