ISI's Role in Swat?
The News, January 28, 2009
There are many Pakhtun who argue that some elite state intelligence agencies and the Taliban, as of Swat for example, are 'natural allies' and feed on each other. The Taliban want a besieged and helpless population whom they can rule with impunity. The ISI, they claim, is facilitating this rule and in return the Taliban create chaos and violence. Some may ask the obvious question: why would any one want chaos and violence in the area?
Two arguments are put forward by many Pakhtuns in this regard. Some refer to the well-known but often-discredited theory of strategic depth, which envisions that Afghanistan will become the fifth province of Pakistan and that the central Asian Islamic states will become its client states. Thus Pakistan will become a robust regional power vis-a-vis India in South Asia and acquire a leadership role in the Muslim world. Therefore, by having a region close to Afghanistan which is full of violence and chaos is a way of preventing the US, India and Iran from establishing a firm foothold in the area. Also, US and NATO forces are in Afghanistan, which means that it is important to have a kind of a buffer between Afghanistan and the rest of Pakistan. Furthermore, many American think-tanks are of the view that a chaotic FATA is bad for both US and NATO forces because it allows the militants a haven to launch attacks inside Afghanistan, and then retreat back to Pakistan.
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The way forward in Swat - By Khurshid Khan, The News
Taleban's stranglehold brings fear to Swat - BBC