ISI assisting Afghan Taliban: study

Published: June 14, 2010
Foreign reports link the ISI to Afghan Taliban. PHOTO: EPA

Foreign reports link the ISI to Afghan Taliban. PHOTO: EPA

LONDON: The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) provides funding, training and sanctuary to the Taliban in Afghanistan, claimed a report for the London School of Economics (LSE). The study has been dismissed by the Pakistani military as “malicious and baseless”.

The LSE study, based on interviews with nine Taliban field commanders in Afghanistan between February and May this year, claims their relationship goes far beyond what is currently known.

“Although the Taliban have a strong endogenous impetus, according to Taliban commanders the ISI orchestrates, sustains and strongly influences the movement,” wrote author Matt Waldman, a fellow at Harvard University.

“[The commanders] say [the ISI] gives sanctuary to both Taliban and Haqqani groups, and provides huge support in terms of training, funding, munitions, and supplies. In their words, this is ‘as clear as the sun in the sky’.”

Waldman said the ISI appears to exert “significant influence” on strategic decision-making and field operations of the Taliban and controls the most violent insurgent units, some of which appear to be based in Pakistan.

Insurgent commanders claimed the ISI was even officially represented, as participants or observers, on the Taliban supreme leadership council, said the report.

The report also alleges that President Asif Ali Zardari himself had assured captive, senior Taliban leaders that they were “our people” and had his backing. He had apparently authorised some to be released from prison.

The study concludes that efforts by the Afghan government and Nato-led forces to end the insurgency in Afghanistan will only be possible with Pakistan’s support.

The report drew an angry reaction from the Pakistani military.

“It is a part of a malicious campaign against the Pakistan army and the ISI,” DG ISPR Major General Athar Abbas told AFP.

“It is baseless. The sacrifices by Pakistan’s army and the ISI and the casualties in the war on terror speak for themselves,” he said. “We have a series of questions on the credibility of the report.”

Foreign office spokesperson, Abdul Basit, also dismissed the report, calling it “rubbish and tasteless”.

“As is always the case, [the report] quoted anonymous sources,” said Basit, adding that “it is an attempt to unnecessarily complicate matters.”

Last week saw a surge in Taliban attacks as 30 Nato soldiers were killed and the alliance announced a two- to three-month delay in the peak of the Kandahar drive, the most ambitious counter-insurgency operation in the war to date.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 14th, 2010.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (10)

  • Jun 14, 2010 - 2:10AM

    Why cant we ever rebuke such studies, rationally, refuting the evidence, or questioning the methodology. Making statements like ““It is a part of a malicious campaign against the Pakistan army and the ISI,” makes it seem as if we are insecure and have something to hide. At the end of the day, such statements just reinforce the perception, bar evidence that the ISI and the Taliban is in cahoots. If so, then what does it say of our state that sacrifices its own citizens to achieve its “interests”. If its all a lie, then the government really needs to step up its PR machine. Recommend

  • Jun 14, 2010 - 2:27AM

    Probably best to add a link to the report itself so that people can make their own judgements:

  • Muhammad Ali Qureshi
    Jun 14, 2010 - 9:54AM

    This is rubbish.
    A Jew Author “Matt Waldman” who wrote this rubbish baseless report should strongly condemns by our Govt. and Armed forces.
    This is an old tactics by these dictators of world (USA, UK and Israel) that they 1st give allegations and than make a strong campaign to work / fight against their targets like we never forget the allegations of these brutal powers to Iraq about Weapons of mass destructions which have never been produced but their bombardment produced millions of graves in the holy land of IRAQ..
    So now they are making a ground against our protecting forces to paved their way for hunting Pakistan in the name of hunting Taliban and their supporters.
    May ALLAH bless and protect every inch of Pakistan (Ameen)Recommend

  • wazdan
    Jun 14, 2010 - 11:07AM

    If ISI support Talibans UN,USA will never stay in Afghanistan even for a month,As Talibans has killed thousand of Pakistanis.they are the number one enemy of Pakistan, so there is no chance for Talibans to be supported by any Pakistani,agency.the deference with Talibans is uncompromisable.Recommend

  • Sadia Hussain
    Jun 14, 2010 - 12:29PM

    The policy of the state needs to be very firm and clear that there will be no cooperation to any non-state actor no matter how lucrative or good it sounds. That said Pakistan has taken a firm stance against Taliban and we have launched operations where ever needed. This report seems like propaganda as it lacks proper citations and the commanders who have been interviewed have no credentials. The porpoise as it seems is to create a rift within the alliesRecommend

  • Mansoor Khalid
    Jun 14, 2010 - 1:37PM

    I am actually not in favor of such reports because they are an attack on the morale of our army. Even if this report comes from western media, they must think about the sacrifices Pakistan as a country and as a nation has made at fiscal and social level while fighting this global war on terror.Recommend

  • Abu Yashaar
    Jun 14, 2010 - 4:15PM

    This is absolutely rubbish and an attempt to hide their own weaknesses. The ‘clear as sun’ facts are:
    1. The Americans are facing a genuine national resistance movement in Afghanistan
    2. Despite 9 years of efforts they have been unable to subdue the struggle of the afghan people.
    3. People of Afghanistan despite having reservations about taliban’s philosophy and tactics are supporting them.

    Actually, they were searching for a scapegoat for their failure and what’s easier than blaming ISI. Shame on you!!!!Recommend

  • Karim
    Jun 14, 2010 - 5:38PM

    The report is 100% correct and it based on a 3 years research and also based on iterviews and evidence collected by the London school of economics inside Afghanistan.

    This is true because every body understands the fact that ISI is always supporting and funding Taliban due to what is the strategic interests of Pakistan, no body can deny this.

    Pakistan with its Intelligence agencies is playing a double game in Afghanistan. From one side they say to International community that they are serious in the war against terror and from other side they support the taliban.Recommend

  • abid
    Jun 14, 2010 - 9:38PM

    truth is always bitterRecommend

  • Sadia Hussain
    Jun 15, 2010 - 3:34PM

    Waldman report is a disgrace to research; it has ignored various dimensions of research ethics, for instance incorporating the views of ISPR, NATO spokesperson. Interestingly all the alleged commanders interviewed were apprehensive of giving in their names. Considering the current state of Afghanistan such extensive interviews were impossible to conduct. The sole purpose of this report seems to damage the strategic partnership of Pakistan and U.S.Recommend

More in World