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.”
Sunday, 13 Jun, 2010