Pakistani support for the Taliban in Afghanistan runs far deeper than a few corrupt police officers, however. The Sunday Times can reveal that it is officially sanctioned at the highest levels of Pakistan’s government.
Pakistan’s own intelligence agency, the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), is said to be represented on the Taliban’s war council — the Quetta shura. Up to seven of the 15-man shura are believed to be ISI agents.
The former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, Amrullah Saleh, who resigned last week, said: “The ISI is part of the landscape of destruction in this country, no doubt, so it will be a waste of time to provide evidence of ISI involvement. They are a part of it.”
Testimony by western and Afghan security officials, Taliban commanders, former Taliban ministers and a senior Taliban emissary show the extent to which the ISI manipulates the Taliban’s strategy in Afghanistan.
Pakistani support for the Taliban is prolonging a conflict that has cost the West billions of dollars and hundreds of lives. Last week 32 Nato soldiers were killed.
According to a report published today by the London School of Economics, which backs up months of research by this newspaper, “Pakistan appears to be playing a double game of astonishing magnitude” in Afghanistan.