Pakistan urges Taliban to step up attacks on Afghans, NATO

For the second night in a row, The Wall Street Journal has the story on US officials’ mounting frustration with Pakistan. According to the WSJ, US defense and intelligence officials and even Taliban commanders are now saying that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate is urging the Taliban to step up the violence in Afghanistan:

Members of Pakistan’s spy agency are pressing Taliban field commanders to fight the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan, some U.S. officials and Afghan militants say, a development that undercuts a key element of the Pentagon’s strategy for ending the war.

The explosive accusation is the strongest yet in a series of U.S. criticisms of Pakistan, and shows a deteriorating relationship with an essential ally in the Afghan campaign. The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in military and development aid to Pakistan for its support.

The U.S. and Afghanistan have sought to persuade midlevel Taliban commanders to lay down their weapons in exchange for jobs or cash. The most recent Afghan effort at starting a peace process took place this week in Kabul.

But few Taliban have given up the fight, officials say. Some Taliban commanders and U.S. officials say militant leaders are being pressured by officers from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency not to surrender.

“The ISI wants to arrest commanders who are not obeying [ISI] orders,” said a Taliban commander in Kunar province.

U.S. officials say they have heard similar reports from captured militants and those negotiating to lay down their arms.

Read the whole thing. Then read Pakistan’s Jihad, written by Thomas Joscelyn and me, back in December 2008. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Max says:

    I’m so sick of hearing about the ISS. It’s long past time for Nato and the US to cut off Pakistan completely and stop calling it an “ally”. What an absolutely laughable, sick joke; and the joke is on us.

  • Doug says:

    In 2003 my son, an Air Force JTAC, was assigned to the 10th Mtn Brigade and served many missions along the border. In Sept 2003 they were attacked by Taliban and endured a 12-hour firefight. During the attack they observed Pakistani’s providing intelligence to the Taliban as to their locations. This incident hardened his attitude towards Pakistan.

  • Girish says:

    Why all the noise now from Pak? Why are the drone attacks being questioned now? Seems like the drone attach are working and getting very close to the ISI goons and the ISI is losing thier ability to “safeguard assets”. The destroying of supply trucks started w/ 2 reason: One the pentagon – security needs to be beefed up, and one to stated department – air incursions into Pak. Wait and U will hear more reasons from different sections of Pak, if these reasons don’t stick.
    Blackmail all the way, kill some but don’t get near our assets is the message.
    The Paks, it looks, have spend their last dime on this isssue and are now desperate – cannot feed thier people.

  • Mr T says:

    It seems crazy to provide Pakistan funds that they in turn use to attack our troops. If they had no US funding, their State may collapse. Pakistan seems to be too foolish to recognize that or more importantly, they want to promote the spread of Islam so badly, they are irrational.
    Heres an idea and this would work for any country we give aid to. If we give you aid and you do things or promote things that are costly to us in terms of blood and treasure, we reduce the amount of aid given by the amount of cost that we incur as a result of their anti- US activity.
    You make a hate speech, we calculate a cost to you and deduct it from our aid package. You allow Taliban to attack us across the border, We calculate a cost of defending ourselves and deduct it. You applaud Iran at the UN, we calculate a p.r. cost that we incur as a reult of your collusion with hateful leaders and enemies of our country and deduct it for your aid package.
    That way the choice is theirs. They maintain their independence and pay for the choices they make. You play ball, you get the aid, you fight with us, we reduce it and use that same money to protect ourselves.
    Why would I give a homeless person money if he is breaking into my house at night? I’ll take that same money and buy an alarm system or better yet, a shotgun.

  • paul says:

    Afghanistan and Iraq were never the enemy.IRAN,Pakistan and Saudi are.Until we deal with them we will never win the WOT!
    Time to ask India and Israel to help US and NATO!

  • davidp says:

    Paul, Afghanistan’s taliban regime sheltered al-quaeda camps and bin Laden while they attacked the U.S. in Africa, the Middle East and then New York. They were an enemy base. The therat matrix article // contains the encouraging claim that foreign fighters get much less training from al-quaeda than they used to – “The report highlights the current crudeness of overseas jihadi training, relative to where it stood in before 9/11”, so the attacks on camps have been helping.
    Saddam’s Iraq tried to assasinate George Bush snr, and fought a gound to air war against NATO for a decade (over the no fly zones). It sheltered terrorists, invaded and threatened its neighbours, and required constant U.S. forces to contain.
    Saudi’s role is mixed – home of wahhabism and exporting it, but supressing the resultant terrorists at home. Saudi let its kids fight in Iraq until the U.S. won the war, and the terroists attacked Saudi.
    Iran and Syria are the enemy, as is part of Pakistan. Converting that to all of Pakistan would really mess up the Afghan mission.

  • davidp says:

    I find it hard to take provocative statements by Taliban field commanders at face value. It is in their interests to wreck the (already weak) relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, and to get the Pakistan civil government in trouble. It’s also in the interests of the Taliban leadership to presuade their field forces that the ISI will be out to get them if they retire, so “similar reports from captured militants and those negotiating to lay down their arms” are to be expected. Any negotiating Taliban will also hype the difficulties of making peace. Such comments which come from people who enthusiastically lie to improve their position don’t seem to be very reliable intelligence.
    I don’t trust the ISI. I half wanted India to bomb ISI headquarters after the Mumbai attacks, but I just don’t think the WSJ has trustworthy data here.

  • Max says:

    I don’t think that we need to rely solely upon the WSJ to make the conclusion that the ISI is working against US and Nato interests in Afghanistan. I believe that Bill Roggio has compiled an impressive collection of data on this website from a wide variety of sources that substantiate that conclusion. In fact, we’ve (the posters and Bill) been saying that very thing on this website for quite a long time. Where have you been?

  • davidp says:

    Max, I agree that ISI has been and still is working against US and NATO interests. I just think taliban field commanders or taliban spokespeople make these comments to the media to manipulate media opinion and U.S.-Pakistan relationships, so their statements should be largely ignored.

  • Bing says:

    So is this how we’re (or maybe even the ISI?) preparing the masses for the taliban “peace deal” in Afghanistan?
    Make it look like that the power players don’t want a peace deal, but the “good” taliban are desperately working for peace in our time.


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