Report: NATO says Pakistan aiding Taliban
A secret NATO report relays long-held fears that members of the Pakistani security services have been helping the Taliban in Afghanistan, despite repeated official denials to the contrary, the BBC reports.
The secret report leaked to the BBC is based on material from 27,000 interrogations with more than 4,000 captured Taliban, al Qaeda and other foreign fighters and civilians, and truly undermines an already damaged relationship between Pakistan and NATO allies, especially the U.S.
While the accusations may be nothing new - the former NATO chief, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, said in 2009 that Iranian and Pakistani spies were assisting the Taliban, to name one of many instances - any proof behind the accusations has never been laid bare before.
Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, a NATO spokesman for the Afghanistan mission, confirmed the existence of the report on Wednesday, but stressed that it was not a strategic military analysis.
"The classified document in question is a compilation of Taliban detainee opinions," he told The Guardian. "It's not an analysis, nor is it meant to be considered an analysis."
Another NATO official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to the Associated Press, said the report's inference that the Taliban might regain significant control over Afghanistan following a U.S. and NATO withdrawal, suggested it is more a reflection of Taliban militant's own delusions of grandeur than an actual gauge of the group's strength.
"It's a very lopsided perspective because some of them are motivated to portray the picture in their favor," the official said.
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"Pakistan's manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly" the report states, according to the BBC, adding that Pakistan is aware of the locations of senior Taliban leaders.
Much of the official blame for Taliban assistance has long fallen on the shadowy official spy service of Pakistan, the ISI, but the report also says Afghan police and military officials regularly collude with Taliban.
The BBC writes: "In a damning conclusion, the document says that in the last year there has been unprecedented interest, even from members of the Afghan government, in joining the Taliban cause. Afghan civilians frequently prefer Taliban governance over the Afghan government, usually as a result of government corruption."
The report by the BBC comes at a particularly delicate time for the West and Afghanistan, as they are currently in discussions with the Taliban to start holding peace talks.
Many feel the Taliban are just using the peace talks as a means to stall for time and seal their legitimacy, something the leaked NATO report all but confirms.
The BBC writes: "The report has evidence that the Taliban are purposely hastening NATO's withdrawal by deliberately reducing their attacks in some areas and then initiating a comprehensive hearts-and-minds campaign."
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