Pakistan playing double game?
1 February 2012Islamabad calls Nato report frivolous
press trust of india
ISLAMABAD/LONDON, 1 FEB: Exposing the ISI's “manipulation” of Taliban's senior leadership and its “massive double game”, a damning Nato report says that Pakistan government remains “intimately” involved with the Afghan-based terror group.
The report leaked out on a day when Pakistan foreign minister Ms Hina Rabbani Khar arrived in Kabul on a one-day visit for talks with Afghan leadership.
The Nato report contains accusations that Pakistan is playing a massive double game with the West as it publicly claims to seek a political solution to the Afghan conflict, while still supporting fighters who have killed thousands of international troops.
Many of the reports most serious revelations concern the scale of support to the Taliban provided by Pakistan and the influence of ISI agency. “The government of Pakistan remains intimately involved with the Taliban,” The Telegraph quoted the report as saying. The report was first leaked to The Times newspaper and the BBC. Reacting to the report, Ms Khar was quoted as saying: “We can disregard this as a potentially strategic leak... This is old wine in an even older bottle.” The report ~ on the state of the Taliban ~ fully exposes for the first time the relationship between the ISI and the Taliban, the BBC said. The report is based on material from 27,000 interrogations with more than 4,000 captured Taliban, Al Qaida 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. “Senior Taliban representatives, such as Nasiruddin Haqqani, maintain residences in the immediate vicinity of ISI headquarters in Islamabad,” it said. The report says that senior Taliban leaders regularly meet with ISI officers “who advise on strategy and relay any pertinent concerns of the government of Pakistan”.
Reacting to the report, Pakistan foreign office spokesman Mr Abdul Basit in a text message said: “This is frivolous, to put it mildly. We are committed to non-interference in Afghanistan and expect all other states to strictly adhere to this principle.”
He added, “We are committed to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process... A stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in our own interest and we are very much cognizant of this.”
However, the report quotes a senior Al Qaida detainee as saying: “Pakistan knows everything. They control everything. I can't (expletive) on a tree in Kunar without them watching.”
The BBC also says the report seems to suggest that the Taliban feel trapped by ISI control and fear they will never escape its influence.
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 international coalition force 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.
The report comes just months after the then top US commander Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, had described Pakistan's military-run ISI as a “veritable arm” of the Haqqani terror network.
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