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Pakistan and the Taliban, Sitting in a Tree

A new report issued by the London School of Economics claims that Pakistan’s intelligence agency is not only funding and training Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan but also holds sway in the insurgency’s leadership council.

The assertion that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence has ties to the Taliban is not new, but the scope of the relationship, the report’s author claims, could be damaging as the U.S. continues to court Pakistan’s support. –JCL

The Los Angeles Times:

Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency not only funds and trains Taliban insurgents fighting U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, but also maintains its own representation on the insurgency’s leadership council, claims a new report issued by the London School of Economics.

Assertions that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, continues to nurture links with the Afghan Taliban are not new. But the scope of that relationship claimed by the report’s author, Matt Waldman, is startling and could prove damaging to the fragile alliance Washington is trying to foster with Pakistan, its military establishment, and its weak civilian government led by President Asif Ali Zardari.

Waldman, a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, based his assertions on interviews with nine Afghan Taliban commanders as well as with Afghan and Western security officials. The report claims that it is official Pakistan governmental policy to support the Taliban’s insurgency in Afghanistan, and that the ISI has a strong voice on the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban’s leadership council, named after the southern Pakistani city believed to serve as the council’s haven.

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