Pakistani Intelligence Aids and Arms Afghan Taliban
by tarheel74, Mon Jun 14, 2010 at 09:50:33 AM EDT
File this under "duh"! This is hardly surprising and maybe the most widely known secret outside the Beltway intelligentsia that likes to throw money at the Pakistani army that uses it to wage a proxy war against us.
This finding is from a newly published paper from the London School of Economics by Matt Waldman. The salient point of the papers have been published by many news organizations.
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.”
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.
There is thus a strong case that the ISI orchestrates, sustains and shapes the overall insurgent campaign "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."
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.
Contrast the facts on the ground with willful ignorance of the Obama administration's policy towards Pakistan as laid out in this Foreign Policy article by Dick Lugar.
Just before midnight on Monday, a naturalized United States citizen from Pakistan was arrested for allegedly driving a car bomb into New York's Times Square in what is believed to have been an attempted act of terrorism. The suspect, Faisal Shahzad, spent time in his homeland earlier this year, and there are reports that Pakistani officials have made several arrests in connection with the case.
This occurs at a time when Pakistan's military has engaged in increasingly sophisticated counterinsurgency operations in Taliban-addled regions and U.S.-Pakistani cooperation in intelligence operations has helped neutralize several high-level Taliban and al Qaeda militants. But the failed attack in Times Square re-enforces the need for our governments also to work together to combat lower-level extremism lurking within local communities in both our countries. Close cooperation between our two nations is more important than ever.
It was to help undergird such cooperation that President Barack Obama last year signed the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act authorizing $7.5 billion in assistance over five years. This non-military aid package is intended to help reverse Pakistan's converging crises of a growing al Qaeda sanctuary, an expanding Taliban insurgency, political brinkmanship, and a failing economy. These conditions were intensifying turmoil and violence in the country, helping to incubate extremism and putting in question the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons arsenal, as well as our own domestic security.
Contrast this as well with the arms deal struck by successive US administrations with Pakistan which runs to the tune of billions of dollars of sophisticated weapons. So essentially the US is paying Pakistani army and intelligence apparatus to wage a proxy war against the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Which brings me to my first snarky poll:
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