Pakistan gave Taliban military aid: US documents
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: The Pakistani government gave substantial military support to the Taliban in the years leading up to the September 11 attacks, sending arms and soldiers to fight alongside the militant Afghan movement, according to newly released US official documents, The Guardian reported on Thursday.
Islamabad has acknowledged diplomatic and economic links with the Taliban but has denied direct military support. The US intelligence and state department documents, released under the country’s freedom of information act, show that Washington believed otherwise, said the report. Among the documents acquired by the National Security Archive, an independent group pressing for government transparency, is a confidential memo sent in November 1996, from intelligence report from Islamabad to the Defence Intelligence Agency in Washington, describing how Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps was operating across the border.
“For Pakistan, a Taliban-based government in Kabul would be as good as it can get in Afghanistan,” a state department briefing paper, dated January 1997, said, adding: “Many Pakistanis claim they detest the Taliban brand of Islam, noting that it might infect Pakistan, but this apparently is a problem for another day.”
“The documents illustrate that throughout the 1990’s Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency considered Islamic extremists to be foreign policy assets,” Barbara Elias, a National Security Archive researcher, said. “But they succeeded ultimately in creating a Pakistani Taliban. Those years of fuelling insurgents created something that now directly threatens Islamabad.” No one was available for comment at the Pakistani embassy in London yesterday. Pakistan has admitted having diplomatic and economic links with the Taliban but denies direct military support.