More on Pakistan’s little problem with the ISI, and the need to “weed out” Taliban supporters (no doubt a Tiny Minority of Extremists). “Pakistan intelligence helping Taliban: NATO general,” by Bronwen Roberts for Agence France-Presse, August 10:
KABUL (AFP) – Pakistan’s intelligence agency is helping the Taliban to pursue an insurgency in Afghanistan that has seen a 50 percent hike in attacks in some areas this year, the NATO commander here told AFP.
The number of foreign fighters, including Europeans, is also increasing here while NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) still lacks the soldiers it needs, US General David D. McKiernan said in a weekend interview.
“There certainly is a level of ISI complicity in the militant areas in Pakistan and organisations such as the Taliban,” the four-star general said, echoing allegations by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and others.
“I can’t say to what level of leadership that goes to but there are indications of complicity on the part of ISI… to the extent that they are facilitating these militant groups that come out of the tribal areas in Pakistan.”
Karzai has directly accused the ISI of fuelling the unrest in Afghanistan, which sees near daily militant attacks, but Pakistan has rejected the claim.
McKiernan, who took command of the 53,000-strong ISAF force in June and who led US troops into Iraq in 2003, said the increase in unrest in Afghanistan is in part because Afghan and international troops have pushed into new areas.
Insurgents have also changed their tactics to operate in smaller groups carrying out more attacks while militant sanctuaries in Pakistan have been allowed to grow and are sending more fighters across the porous border.
These include men who are not from the Pashtun tribe that straddles the border and from which the Taliban, who were in government in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, are largely drawn.
“Unfortunately we see a higher number of non-Pashtun, non-Afghanistan fighters this year than this time last year,” McKiernan said.
“They are really from a variety of ethnic groupings: some are from areas in Pakistan, some are from places like Uzbekistan, or Chechnya, some are from Europe and some are from other Arab countries,” the general said.
If Afghanistan’s borders were secured and it were up to the Afghan people, the insurgency could be dealt with “rather quickly,” McKiernan said.
“But when you have a problem of porous borders and fighters and weapons and resources and command and control and logistics being brought in from outside of Afghanistan, that adds a complicating context to the insurgency,” he said….