Michael van der Galien

Report: Pakistan’s ISI Backs the Taliban

Posted on June 13 2010 11:00 am
Michael van der Galien was born in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in 1984. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with the United States. When he was 17 years old, he started blogging - of course about America. His articles have been published at Big Hollywood, Pajamas Media, Hot Air (the GreenRoom) and Right Across The Atlantic. He's also an editor for the Dutch conservative blog, De Dagelijkse Standaard.
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Is Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari playing a dangerous double-game?

A report by the London School of Economics says that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has “an official policy” of support for the Taliban. The ISI, the report says, “provides funding and training” for the extremist Muslim group in neighboring Afghanistan. It adds that the agency even “has representatives on the so-called Quetta Shura, the Taliban’s leadership council, which is believed to meet in Pakistan.” If it’s true that Pakistan is double-gaming us, and I’m inclined to believe it is, permanently defeating the Taliban will be even more problematic than thought.

The report is written by Matt Waldman, a fellow at Harvard University, and based on interviews with several Taliban commanders.

“Pakistan appears to be playing a double-game of astonishing magnitude,” the report says. Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari pretends to be enlightened, modern, a staunch ally of the West, and a supporter of the War on Terror, when dealing with Westerners. Not so, says Waldman in his report. The president apparently met with senior Taliban prisoners, promising them they would released as soon as possible, adding that they were only arrested because of American pressure.

“The Pakistan government’s apparent duplicity – and awareness of it among the American public and political establishment – could have enormous geopolitical implications. 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’s report clearly confirms that Amrullah Saleh, the former director of Afghanistan’s intelligence service, was right when he told Reuters last week that the ISI was “part of a landscape of destruction in this country.”

If true, and there’s every reason to believe it is, the report spells tremendous trouble. It is virtually impossible for the West and Kabul to defeat the Taliban if these terrorists are backed by the ISI. We need Pakistan’s cooperation, we can definitely not use its knife in our backs.

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