The ISI-Afghan Taliban Link?
By Huma Imtiaz, Foreign Policy, June 13, 2010
The LSE Development Studies Institute report by Matt Waldman titled "The Sun in the Sky," released on Sunday, details the relationship between Pakistan's notorious spy agency the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Afghan Taliban. The report details the ISI's close relationship with the Taliban and its involvement with the Quetta Shura, along with claims from Taliban commanders that the ISI is heavily involved in the planning and execution of attacks on schools and other government targets in Afghanistan. In short, the ISI, an important part of the Pakistani Army, is hoodwinking the United States by still heavily supporting the Taliban movement, in order to ensure they have a permanent voice in deciding the future of Afghanistan.
While the report details how ISI trains militants, manipulates the Quetta Shura and more, one of the most astounding accusations is this:
"According to a Talib who has regular contact with members of the Quetta Shura, in late March or early April this year President Zadari [sic] and a senior ISI official visited some 50 high-ranking Talibs who were held in a prison in a secret location in Pakistan. Some 30-35 had been arrested in recent months, and 10-15 were longer-term prisoners. Reportedly, he told them they were arrested because he was under a lot of pressure from the Americans and that, ‘you are our people, we are friends, and after your release we will of course support you to do your operations.' "
Even though hating President Zardari might be a national pastime in Pakistan for many, this statement seems far-fetched, even to the most committed of his foes.First, it is hard to believe that the uber-secretive ISI would share such information with members of the civilian government. Secondly, even if ISI officials did take Pakistan's civilian government into confidence, why would they take a civilian president to assure the Taliban of the ISI's support? If they had to reassure the high-ranking Talibs, a more reassuring face would have been that of the ISI chief's, or even the Chief of Army Staff's.
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Pakistani president never met Taliban, officials say - Guardian