Still more evidence of Pakistan’s double game. “Afghanistan: Pakistan accused of backing Taliban,” by Sam Collyns for BBC News, October 26:
Pakistan has been accused of playing a double game, acting as America’s ally in public while secretly training and arming its enemy in Afghanistan according to US intelligence.
In a prison cell on the outskirts of Kabul, the Afghan Intelligence Service is holding a young man who alleges he was recruited earlier this year by Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence agency, the ISI.
He says he was trained to be a suicide bomber in the Taliban’s intensifying military campaign against the Western coalition forces – and preparations for his mission were overseen by an ISI officer in a camp in Pakistan.
After 15 days training, he was sent into Afghanistan.
“There were three of us. We were put into a black vehicle with black windows. The police did not stop the car because it was obviously ISI. No-one dares stop their cars. They told me… you will receive your explosive waistcoat, and then go and explode it.”
Taliban bases in Pakistan
The man recruited to be a suicide bomber changed his mind at the last minute and was later captured by the Afghan intelligence service.
But his story is consistent with a mass of intelligence which has convinced the Americans that, as they suspected, for the last decade Pakistan has been secretly arming and supporting the Taliban in its attempt to regain control of Afghanistan.
These suspicions started as early as 2002, when the Taliban began launching attacks across the border from their bases in Pakistan, but they became more widely held after 2006 when the Taliban’s assault increased in its ferocity, not least against the ill-prepared British forces in Helmand province.
The final turning point in American eyes was the attack on Mumbai when 10 gunmen rampaged through the Indian city, killing 170 people – two weeks after Barack Obama’s US presidential election victory in November 2008.
Despite Pakistan claiming it played no part in the attack, the CIA later received intelligence that it said showed the ISI were directly involved in training the Mumbai gunmen.
President Obama ordered a review of all intelligence on the region by a veteran CIA officer, Bruce Riedel.
“Our own intelligence was unequivocal,” says Riedel. “In Afghanistan we saw an insurgency that was not only getting passive support from the Pakistani army and the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, but getting active support.”
Evidence of Pakistan’s support for the Taliban is also plain to see at the border where insurgents are allowed to cross at will, or even helped to evade US patrols.
There have been other reports of jihadists operating in sight of, and even with the help of the Pakistani military.
And the recent drone attacks in Pakistan have become increasingly effective as intelligence has been withheld from the Pakistanis, claims Mr Riedel.
“At the beginning of the drone operations, we gave Pakistan an advance tip-off of where we were going, and every single time the target wasn’t there anymore. You didn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to put the dots together.” […]
But those who claim that Pakistan’s hidden hand has shaped the conflict fear the same is now true of the negotiations for peace. Last year, in the Pakistani city of Karachi, Mullah Baradar, the Taliban’s second-in-command, was captured by the ISI.
Secretly, Baradar had made contact with the Afghan government to discuss a deal that would end the war. He had done so without the ISI’s permission and he was detained “to bring him back under control” according to one British diplomat….