Signs of Pakistan's Role in Supporting Taliban: A view

At Border, Signs of Pakistani Role in Taliban Surge
New York Times, January 21, 2007

QUETTA, Pakistan — The most explosive question about the Taliban resurgence here along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is this: Have Pakistani intelligence agencies been promoting the Islamic insurgency?

The government of Pakistan vehemently rejects the allegation and insists that it is fully committed to help American and NATO forces prevail against the Taliban militants who were driven from power in Afghanistan in 2001.

Western diplomats in both countries and Pakistani opposition figures say that Pakistani intelligence agencies — in particular the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence — have been supporting a Taliban restoration, motivated not only by Islamic fervor but also by a longstanding view that the jihadist movement allows them to assert greater influence on Pakistan’s vulnerable western flank.

More than two weeks of reporting along this frontier, including dozens of interviews with residents on each side of the porous border, leaves little doubt that Quetta is an important base for the Taliban, and found many signs that Pakistani authorities are encouraging the insurgents, if not sponsoring them.

The evidence is provided in fearful whispers, and it is anecdotal.

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Pakistan Denies It Harbors Taliban
Officials Answer New Allegations, Defend Efforts to Curb Attacks
By Pamela Constable
Washington Post, January 21, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 20 -- Faced with new charges that Pakistan is harboring Islamic insurgents, including fugitive Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, Pakistani officials this weekend denied such allegations and defended their efforts to curb cross-border insurgent attacks in Afghanistan as sincere if not totally successful.

"We don't deny the Taliban come and go, but that is not the entire truth," Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan's military spokesman, said in an interview Saturday. "If 25 percent of the problem lies on our side of the border, 75 percent of it lies on the Afghan side." Of four known top Taliban commanders, he said, three are Afghan and one is Pakistani.
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