The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's secret service, originally helped to build up and deploy the Taliban after Afghanistan descended into a bitter and fratricidal civil war between the mujahedeen who had prevailed over the Soviets and forced their withdrawal. Despite all of the reassurances from Pakistani politicians that the old ties are cut, the country is still pursuing an ambiguous policy in the region -- at once serving as both an ally to the US and as a helper to its enemy.
There is plenty of new evidence to support this thesis. The documents clearly show that the Pakistani intelligence agency is the most important accomplice the Taliban has outside of Afghanistan. The war against the Afghan security forces, the Americans and their ISAF allies is still being conducted from Pakistan.
The country is an important safe haven for enemy forces -- and serves as a base for issuing their deployment. New recruits to the Taliban stream across the Pakistan-Afghan border, including feared foreign fighters -- among them Arabs, Chechnyans, Uzbekis, Uighurs and even European Islamists.
According to the war logs, the ISI envoys are present when insurgent commanders hold war councils -- and even give specific orders to carry out murders. These include orders to try to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai. For example, a threat report dated August 21, 2008 warned: "Colonel Mohammad Yusuf from the ISI had directed Taliban official Maulawi Izzatullah to see that Karzai was assassinated."
Former Pakistan intelligence chief General Hamid Gul plays a prominent role in the ISI documents. After he left office, Gul came across in the Western media as a kind of propagandist for the Taliban. In the documents, Gul is depicted as an important source of aid to the Taliban and even, in one report, as "a leader" of the insurgents. One threat report from Jan. 14, 2008 claims that he coordinated the planned kidnapping of United Nations employees on Highway 1 between Kabul and Jalalabad.
The memos state that Gul ordered suicide attacks, and they also describe the former intelligence chief as one of the most important suppliers of weaponry to the Taliban. One report mentions a convoy of 65 trucks carrying munitions that Gul allegedly organized for the Taliban. Another claims the ISI delivered 1,000 motorcycles to the Haqqanis, a warlord family led by Sirajuddin Haqqani who -- together with the Taliban and Hekmatyar -- are among the three greatest opponents of Western forces in Afghanistan. Another mentions 7,000 weapons that were sent to the border province of Kunar, including Kalashnikovs, mortars and Strella rockets.
Still, even those who drew up the reports are uncertain of their veracity. This kind of uncertainty creeps up often in the documents. They reveal the great weakness of the US communications strategy.
Addressing the facets about Pakistan, White House official Rhodes responded: "The status quo is not acceptable, which is precisely why the United States had focused so much on this challenge. Pakistan is moving in the right direction, but more must be done. The safe havens for violent extremist groups within Pakistan continue to pose an intolerable threat to the United States, to Afghanistan and to the Pakistani people who have suffered greatly from terrorism. The Pakistani government -- and Pakistan's military and intelligence services -- must continue their strategic shift against violent extremist groups within their borders and stay on the offensive against them."
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