Pakistan is Helping Afghan Taliban, Says Nato Report
As Reported by The BBC
The Taliban in Afghanistan are being directly assisted by Pakistani security services, according to a secret Nato report seen by the BBC.
The leaked report, derived from thousands of interrogations, claims the Taliban remain defiant and have wide support among the Afghan people. It alleges that Pakistan knows the locations of senior Taliban leaders.
A BBC correspondent says the report is painful reading for international forces and the Afghan government. Pakistan has strenuously denied any links with the Taliban on previous occasions.
“We have long been concerned about ties between elements of the ISI and some extremist networks,” said US Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby, adding that the US Defence Department had not seen the report.
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 Pakistani intelligence service (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.
The report states: “As this document is derived directly from insurgents it should be considered informational and not necessarily analytical.”
Despite Nato’s strategy to secure the country with Afghan forces, the secret document details widespread collaboration between the insurgents and Afghan police and military.
Lt Col Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan, said the document was “a classified internal document that is not meant to be released to the public”.
“It is a matter of policy that documents that are classified are not discussed under any circumstances,” he said.
The report also depicts the depth of continuing support among the Afghan population for the Taliban, our correspondent says.
It paints a picture of al-Qaeda’s influence diminishing but the Taliban’s influence increasing, he adds.
In a damning conclusion, the document says that in the last year there has been unprecedented interest, even from members of the Afghan government, in joining the Taliban cause. It adds: “Afghan civilians frequently prefer Taliban governance over the Afghan government, usually as a result of government corruption.”
The report has evidence that the Taliban are purposely hastening Nato’s withdrawal by deliberately reducing their attacks in some areas and then initiating a comprehensive hearts-and-minds campaign.
It says that in areas where Isaf has withdrawn, Taliban influence has increased, often with little or no resistance from government security forces. And in many cases, with the active help of the Afghan police and army.
When foreign soldiers leave, Afghan security forces are expected to take control. However according to the report, rifles, pistols and heavy weapons have been sold by Afghan security forces in bazaars in Pakistan.