A classified NATO report says that the Taliban is being aided by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies—a charge Islamabad categorically denies.
The report, which is based on interviews from 27,000 interrogations with more than 4,000 captured al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, was obtained by the BBC and the Times of London newspaper and portions were published on Wednesday.
“Reflections from detainees indicate that Pakistan’s manipulation of Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly,” the report states, according to the BBC.
The Pakistani security service is “thoroughly aware” of the whereabouts of senior Taliban members and the group’s activities in the country, it added. The Haqqani militant group that has ties to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, “for example, resides immediately west of the ISI office at the airfield in Miram Shah, Pakistan,” the report states. ISI is Pakistan’s main intelligence agency.
A senior al-Qaeda member, who is not named, is quoted in the report as saying that “Pakistan knows everything [and] controls everything.”
The report says that the Taliban seems assured that it will eventually take over Afghanistan after NATO and U.S. forces withdraw from the country in 2014. The group also thinks that there is little to no chance that negotiated peace with the Kabul government and NATO is the way forward.
“Detainees from throughout Afghanistan report that popular support for the insurgence in terms of recruitment and donations increased within the last year,” the report states, adding that the group continues to receive a sizable amount from the narcotics trade in a country where opium poppy cultivation is widespread.
Furthermore, the Taliban controls the majority of insurgent activity inside the country and grants permission to al-Qaeda or other militant groups, the report adds. The Taliban allegedly has designated Kabul a “free area” meaning any commander can order an attack there without prior consent.
Hina Rabbani Khar, the foreign minister of Pakistan, denied that the country’s intelligence agency had any ties with the Taliban and says there is no hidden agenda at play.
Khar, in a press conference on Wednesday, said the allegations in the NATO report are “old wine in an even older bottle,” according to The Hindu newspaper. Khar is slated to head to Afghanistan soon and called the report a “potentially strategic leak.”