According to a report in this newspaper, at a briefing to a delegation of Pakistani journalists invited to Kabul, a senior officer of the International Security Assistance Force said that there was reason to believe that key Afghan Taliban leaders were present in the capital of Balochistan and directing from inside Taliban operations across the border using the city as their base. Of course, this allegation has been repeated many times and is perhaps given credence by the publication of several reports in the international media, all indicating that the Afghan Taliban leadership are ensconced in Pakistan and that they may be seen as a bargaining chip by Islamabad (especially the Establishment) in any future negotiations with Kabul. On the face of it, there is no concrete evidence, or at least none that is available to the general public, which would prove this to be the case. However, since these allegations have been made several times in recent years, there may indeed be something to them, especially if one considers Islamabad’s continued belief in the so-called theory of strategic depth, which is based on the installation of a friendly government in Afghanistan.
As Pakistanis, we need to ask ourselves some questions. What purpose could possibly be served by allowing such people to operate in our country? The idea that elements in our country continue to do business with some of the most unsavoury characters thrown up by recent history is a highly disturbing one, especially if one considers the fact that they have close ties to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, follow the same ideology and many of their goals overlap. The Afghan Taliban, during the reign of terror that they imposed on Afghanistan, were responsible for the most outrageous atrocities. There is every reason to believe they will inflict similar, if not even worse abuses, notably on women and minority communities, should they ever come to power again. The fact they may be using our country to plot means to do so is unacceptable. Islamabad needs to ensure that the old nexus between its intelligence agencies and the Taliban is dismantled. That by itself will help in the fight against militancy and terrorism inside Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2010.
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