ISI Allows Taliban Free Run of Pakistan’s Baluchistan

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 6 months ago

From The Economic Times of India, citing mainly Newsweek:

Taliban has been given a free-run in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province bordering Afghanistan and its hardscrabble capital city of Quetta, which has been declared off-limits by Pakistani military to US predator strikes.

The outfit’s military chief Mulla Abdul Qayyum Zakir, ranked number two after Mullah Omar, and his men are operating with impunity in the high-desert landscape and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence ( ISI) seems to be giving them a free hand, ‘Newsweek’ reported.

“They are coming and going in groups without end,” says a senior Quetta politician, an ethnic Pashtun.

“Whatever the Taliban is doing is supervised and monitored by the [Pakistani] intelligence agencies”, he said.

Old hands among the insurgents say it reminds them of 1980s Peshawar, where anti-Soviet mujahedin operated openly with the ISI’s blessing and backing, the magazine reported.

[ ... ]

A local government councillor says the area’s mosques and madrassas are packed with insurgents in need of temporary lodging as they head back to Afghanistan. Way stations have been set up all over the region in rented houses, he says, and swarms of Taliban pass through town on motorbikes every day. Most carry Pakistani national identity cards. “They’re enjoying the hospitality of the ‘black legs’ [derogatory slang for the ISI],” he says. He worries that the local culture is being Talibanized.

Read the entire report.  The Taliban are said to  be stunned and despondent over the successful OBL raid.  But this fact appears not to be holding the tide of fighters in abeyance.  As for other parts of Pakistan which supply sanctuary for both the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban, in a report at The Global Post (which I will be citing again in the future), Shafiq Ahmed, a former Pakistani army general, flatly says that “If America wants to stay in Afghanistan, or safeguard its interests in case of a proposed pull-out, it has to tame North Waziristan.”

It would appear that as I have observed, the Durand line is completely imaginary, and that a regional approach to the problem of Islamic militancy is necessary.  A pullout of U.S. forces, leaving the problem to the pitiful Afghan National Security Forces (ANA and ANP), doesn’t fit the bill.  So what else does the current administration have for us?

  • Glen Tschirgi

    Here is where it would help to have a genuine, covert capability. This is probably worth a topic unto itself, but suffice it so say that some of the most effective ways for the U.S. to influence international events are done covertly. Or, put the other way around, some of the worst ways to try to influence events is to do so publicly. The U.S. has been doing just that with Iran, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Israel and the list goes on.

    Herschel’s post points out, yet again, the double game that Pakistan is playing.

    Fine. The U.S. is capable of playing the same game, covertly and with the same deniability. The Baluchs in southwest Pakistan have long agitated for independence from Pakistan. They are no friend of the ISI or the Taliban (backed by the ISI). If the Baluchistan independence movement were to find an anonymous source of funding for weapons and training (with the proviso that attacks include any government agencies or structures that are assisting the Taliban), the Taliban might find it harder to operate so freely in Quetta and elsewhere.

    Of course, in order to do this, the CIA would either have to be completely re-built and re-staffed (see the book by Ishmael Jones, for instance), or replaced with a spy agency that is focused on covert ops.


You are currently reading "ISI Allows Taliban Free Run of Pakistan’s Baluchistan", entry #6942 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Pakistan,Taliban and was published May 23rd, 2011 by Herschel Smith.

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