Pakistan, ISI, Inter-Services Intelligence Agency
Sherin Zada/AP
Hundreds of thousands of villagers fled their villages as Pakistani security forces started
crack down operations against militants and Taliban.

Increasing Violence Underscores Pakistan’s Taliban Link

October 06, 2008 03:30 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A report says Pakistani spies supplied the Taliban with weapons for assassination plots in Afghanistan—the latest dubious behavior from the tenuous U.S. ally.

Pakistani Spies Aided Taliban

The report alleges that Pakistan’s spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), assisted the Taliban in assassination plots against the Afghan government in 2005.

The confidential document, which is marked by the official seal of Spain’s Defense Ministry and was posted by Cadena Ser radio on its Web site on Wednesday, also says that Pakistan helped the Taliban procure improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and provided training and intelligence to the insurgents in Taliban camps. The remote IEDs were procured to use in attacks on vehicles carrying high-ranking officials, according to the report.

The report also says that training camps may exist in Pakistan, “where the Taliban receive training, help and intelligence from the ISI and where they are also developing new kinds of IEDs,” and that the Taliban has been receiving help from al-Qaida.

Other Western spy agencies have reported similar findings, says Fernando Reinares, a terrorism analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute in Madrid and former chief counterterrorism adviser at Spain’s Interior Ministry. “The intelligence services have done nothing more than confirm a reality which has also been reported by other Western agencies,” he told the Associated Press.

Related Topic: Security in Pakistan

Pakistan’s security situation has worsened in recent months. On Monday, a suicide bombing at a lawmaker’s home became the latest in a series of attacks against government, military and Western targets in the country. The bomb, set off at opposition legislator Rasheed Akbar Niwani’s home, killed 15 people and wounded more than 50.

On Thursday, a suicide bombing targeting a politician killed at least four people in the northwestern town of Charsadda. And last month, a truck bombing at a Marriott Hotel in Islamabad killed more than 50 people.

In response to recent violence, the UN has raised its security level in the country. UN employees have been instructed to remove their children from the country.

Background: ‘The Long Road to Chaos in Pakistan’

Pakistani leaders began aiding the Taliban more than a decade ago, while Afghanistan was still mired in a civil war. Under the leadership of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan first put its support behind the Taliban in 1994. They provided money, supplies and military advisers to the Afghan tribesmen, who entered the Afghani capital in 1996.

After the Sept. 11 attack, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf publicly promised to break ties with the Taliban, and the U.S. rewarded the country with $10 billion in aid. But behind the scenes, the country’s military and intelligence services continued to strengthen the Taliban.

“Now they are finding that their home-schooled militants have grown too strong to control. No longer content to just cross into Afghanistan to kill American soldiers, the militants have begun to challenge the government itself,” reports The New York Times.

“The Pakistanis are truly concerned about their whole country unraveling,” an anonymous Western military official told the Times.

Last July, the ISI came under suspicion of aiding Taliban fighters led by Serajuddin Haqqani in bombing the Indian Embassy in Kabul. The attack killed about 54 people, and the U.S. said evidence clearly implicated the ISI.

“It was sort of this ‘aha’ moment,” an American official said, according to the Times.

Opinion & Analysis: Pakistani-U.S. relations

Pakistan’s secret support of the Taliban is harming the American effort in Afghanistan, writes The New York Times. And tension between Washington and Pakistani leaders has risen, culminating in a recent exchange of gunfire between U.S. and Pakistani troops at the Afghan-Pakistani border.

America’s patience with the ISI’s double-dealing in Afghanistan is running thin. Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, has given assurance that he will tame the ISI. But a civilian with a dodgy past will find it hard to tackle what Pakistanis call Invisible Soldiers Inc,” comments The Economist.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines