According to a secret NATO report obtained by the BBC and The Times of London, Pakistan is actively supporting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
The leaked classified report further highlights the complicated relationship between the United States and Pakistan. If you remember, back in September the then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff accused Pakistan of using extremist organizations as proxies to attack U.S. troops.
As NPR’s Quil Lawrence told Renee Montagne on Morning Edition, today, the leaked report doesn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know, but it does add some details.
“The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says the report — on the state of the Taliban — fully exposes for the first time the relationship between the ISI and the Taliban. The report is based on material from 27,000 interrogations with more than 4,000 captured Taliban, al-Qaeda and other foreign fighters and civilians.
“It notes: ‘Pakistan’s manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly’. It says that Pakistan is aware of the locations of senior Taliban leaders.
“‘Senior Taliban representatives, such as Nasiruddin Haqqani, maintain residences in the immediate vicinity of ISI headquarters in Islamabad,’ it said. It quotes a senior al-Qaeda detainee as saying: ‘Pakistan knows everything. They control everything. I can’t [expletive] on a tree in Kunar without them watching.’
“‘The Taliban are not Islam. The Taliban are Islamabad.’”
The ISI, of course, is Pakistan’s intelligence service and Islamabad is Pakistan’s capital. At the core of the conflict is that Pakistan receives millions in U.S. foreign aid, yet at the same time it has been reported to be supporting militants actively fighting against the U.S.
Analysts believe Pakistan would do this, because it believes the Taliban will regain control of Afghanistan and become a key ally, once U.S. and NATO troops pull out of the country.
Pakistan immediately denied the reports.
“We are committed to non-interference in Afghanistan,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said according to CNN.
“This is frivolous, to put it mildly. Pakistan has suffered enormously because of the long conflict in Afghanistan. A stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in our own interest and we are very much cognizant of this,” he said.
Quil reports that NATO warned against reading too much into the report. They pointed out it was based on interrogations and it “might be what the Taliban want people to hear.”