Sunday 13 June 2010

ISI officially represented on Taliban shura - report

Pakistani military intelligence not only funds and trains Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but is officially represented on the movement's leadership council, giving it significant influence over operations, a report released on Sunday said.
The report, The Sun and the Sky: the relationship between Pakisan's ISI and Afghan Insurgents, written by Harvard scholar Matt Waldman and published by the London School of Economics, says research strongly suggested support for the Taliban was the "official policy" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). Waldman says up to seven members of the Taliban's shura are ISI agents. You can view an al-Jazeera interview with Waldman above.
Links between the some members and former members of the ISI and Islamist militants have been known about for some time, but Waldman's report is new in suggesting that this is the organisation's official policy.
The LSE report states: “As the provider of sanctuary and substantial financial, military and logistical support to the insurgency, the ISI appears to have strong strategic and operational influence — reinforced by coercion. There is thus a strong case that the ISI orchestrates, sustains and shapes the overall insurgent campaign.”
It also alleges that Asif Ali Zardari, the president of Pakistan, recently met captured Taliban leaders to assure them that the Taliban had his government’s full support, although this has been vigorously denied by Zardari’s spokesman.

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