Pakistan strongly refuted NATO allegations on Wednesday that it was assisting Taliban militants fighting the US-led foreign troops in Afghanistan, warning that such baseless accusations could further harm the already strained relations between Islamabad and Washington.
A secret NATO report obtained by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had said the Taliban in Afghanistan were being directly assisted by Pakistani security services. “The leaked report, derived from thousands of interrogations, claims the Taliban remain defiant and have wide support among the Afghan people,” the BBC said. “A BBC correspondent says the report is painful reading for international forces and the Afghan government,” it added. The report also alleges that Pakistan knows the locations of senior Taliban leaders. However, Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said in a statement: “We are committed to non-interference in Afghanistan. Pakistan has suffered enormously because of the long conflict in Afghanistan. A stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in our own interest and we are very much cognizant of this.”
He said: “Our stakes in peace in Afghanistan are far higher than any other country.” Terming the NATO accusations as ridiculous, he said they were “frivolous, to put it mildly”.
“We have long been concerned about ties between elements of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and some extremist networks,” Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby said according to a foreign news agency report. However, he added that the US Defence Department had not yet seen the report.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on Wednesday that Islamabad had no hidden agenda in Afghanistan.
Khar told reporters after meeting Afghan President Hamid Karzai that claims against Pakistan’s sincerity in the war against terrorism had been made “many, many times”. “Pakistan stands behind any initiative that the Afghan government takes for peace,” she said.
Responding to the NATO report, Khar said allegations in the NATO report were “old wine in an even older bottle”. She said Pakistan wanted to have deep and long-standing relations with Afghanistan.
“The intention of my visit here was to give a very strong message to Kabul about Pakistan’s desire to have a long-standing deep relationship with Afghanistan,” Khar told a joint press conference with her Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rasoul.
During her visit she also allayed the Afghan government’s concerns, saying Pakistan did not have any secret agenda in Afghanistan. “Pakistan stands for Afghanistan’s independence, Pakistan stands for Afghanistan’s unity, and in this regard, any threat to Afghanistan’s unity and integrity is a threat against Pakistan,” she said.
She also held a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and exchanged views on bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries. She invited Karzai to visit Pakistan and attend the summit of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan scheduled for this month.
ARMY DISMISSIVE: Pakistan’s army opted for silence over the NATO report with the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) did not consider the leaked report worth commenting on. “So the BBC has moved from ‘secret Pakistan’ to ‘NATO secret (leaks) report’. The report is not available and leaks are not worth commenting on,” said the ISPR.
However, a security official who declined to be identified by name said such baseless accusations could harm the already strained ties and also damage the ongoing efforts on the part of both sides to put relations back on track and revive counter-terrorism cooperation.
THE LEAKED REPORT: The NATO report said the Pakistani security services were secretly helping the Taliban, who assumed their victory was inevitable once Western troops left. The leaked “State of the Taliban” report – seen by the BBC and British newspaper The Times – was compiled from information gleaned from insurgent detainees and was given to NATO commanders in Afghanistan last month, the media reports said.
It claims that Pakistan and its ISI agency were aware of the locations of senior Taliban leaders. The BBC said the report was based on material from 27,000 interrogations of more than 4,000 captured Taliban and al Qaeda operatives, plus other foreign fighters and civilians.
“Pakistan’s manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly,” the report was quoted as saying. “ISI officers tout the need for continued jihad and expulsion of foreign invaders from Afghanistan.”
The Times quoted the report as saying the Taliban’s “strength, motivation, funding and tactical proficiency remains intact”, despite setbacks in 2011. “Many Afghans are already bracing themselves for an eventual return of the Taliban… Once ISAF is no longer a factor, Taliban consider their victory inevitable,” it said.
The US Department of Defense said it could not comment on the report but set out its fears about Pakistan and its influence in Afghanistan.
“We have not seen the report, and therefore cannot offer comment on it specifically,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told AFP. “[But] we have long been concerned about ties between elements of the ISI and some extremist networks,” he added.
In its conclusion, the report said there had been unprecedented interest in joining the Taliban cause in 2011 – even from members of the Afghan government. “Afghan civilians frequently prefer Taliban governance over the Afghan government, usually as a result of government corruption,” it was reported as saying.
PAKISTAN HINDERING RECONCILIATION: The Times, in an editorial, said Pakistan was “actively hindering reconciliation” between the Taliban and Kabul. “Islamabad appears to be engaged in a systematic effort to destabilise the Kabul government of (President) Hamid Karzai prior to the withdrawal of Western forces, and to assist those attacking and killing those forces. The ISI emerges from this document looking considerably more villainous, even, than the Taliban itself,” it said.
“The picture that is painted is very much one of a force that both expects, and is widely expected, to have a big stake in controlling the Afghanistan of the future,” it concluded.
‘NOT A STRATEGIC STUDY’: Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), confirmed the existence of the document but said it was not a strategic study.
Hours after The Times report, the Afghan Taliban said that no peace negotiation process had been agreed with the international community, “particularly the Americans”. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that prior to any negotiations, confidence building measures must be completed, putting pressure on Washington to meet demands for the release of five Taliban in US custody.
The hardline Islamist movement also said it had no plans to hold preliminary peace talks with Afghanistan’s government in Saudi Arabia, dismissing media reports of talks in the kingdom.
Pakistani military must put an end to the manufacturing of explosives by the terrorists. Improvised explosive devices are the new weapons of terrorists this must be stopped.
Pakistan is not aiding to talibans,it is only U.S.A who feeds them since 1979.When did not fulfil its objectives put the bloody blame on Innocent Pakistan Sheat them
Waleed is right in saying that by putting a stop to the manufacturing of explosives by the terrorists, the menace of terrorism can be eliminated.
I totally agree with awais on this, the means and ways by which terrorists are spreading fear especially the usage of improvised explosive devises should be monitored and brought to an end.
Terrorism, terrorists, government, military, funds, use of improvised explosive devises, innocent people dying, many more to die, this is what are young generation is talking about.
Even our military cannot do anything about the terrorists unless our government intervenes and ensures the production of improvised explosive devices is stopped.
EU has joined hands with Pakistan in our war against terrorism. They will be providing us 10 robots and 10 vehicles that would help our security teams in spotting and hence detonating the improvised explosive devices.
Improvised explosive devices are lethal and have already claimed thousands of innocent lives.
Improvised explosive devises+ terrorists= disaster for global peace
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