Just as India’s BSF charges that Pakistani intelligence is working with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Abdullah Al Madani of Gulf News writes that in fact, “Pakistan, through its madrassah, fundamentalist parties, and Inter-Services Intelligence, ISI, is helping the Taliban remnants return to power, repeating exactly what was done in the mid-1990s.” And all this despite the Musharraf regime’s claim to be “doing everything it can to fight terrorism.”
Madani says that “observers today do not need to do much to prove that Taliban figures and leaders are moving freely in Pakistan and plotting without hindrance. According to some Pakistani newspapers, they openly preach at mosques, travel around collecting donations, hold meetings at recognisable addresses in Quetta, and recruit new fighters for the jihad against the International Security Assistance Forces, ISAF, and what they call ‘the infidel regime’ of Hamid Karzai. All these take place at the time when Pakistani troops are searching the mountains for the Taliban and Al Qaida’s activists.”
Yet “in spite of the above facts, the US shows no concerns, refusing to take a decisive action against Islamabad or even criticise the Musharraf regime. Washington still maintains that the latter is doing everything it can to fight terrorism.
“It argues that further pressure on General Musharraf’s regime to curb the resurgence of the Taliban to clamp down on the madrassah (the incubators for fundamentalist militants), or to stop cross-border infiltration into Afghanistan will damage his political position and could lead to further complexities and chaos in the entire region.”
Madani isn’t buying: “The counter argument should be that the insistence on protecting an undemocratic regime that hesitates to impose law and order in parts of the country and plays games to prolong its stay in power is what could have a devastating impact on both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Unlike the Bush administration, the Democrat opposition is now the only force in the US that openly calls for action against Islamabad for its double stance towards the Taliban.
“Democrats have recently showed strong opposition to the $3 billion aid package for Pakistan announced by Bush in June. They are against sending money to Islamabad unless the latter controls its provinces bordering Afghanistan and curbs the Taliban and like-minded groups.
“Such a stand by the Democrats, however, must not lead to the conclusion that they are concerned about Afghanistan more than the Bush Administration. As the presidential election nears, it is merely a game to embarrass Bush.
“In fact, Democrats played a role in bringing the Taliban to power in 1996 by accepting and endorsing the ISI’s creation and installation of the latter.
“Democrat figures holding prominent position in the Bill Clinton administration, such as assistant secretary of state for South Asia Robin Raphel, her successor Karl Inderfurth, deputy secretary of state for political affairs Thomas Pickering, and ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson, were among the first Americans to visit the Taliban state, meet mullah Omar’s assistants, and forge friendly relations with them in 1996,1997, and 1998.”