Pakistani Intelligence aiding Taliban revival?
The Pakistani newspaper, Jang (“The News”) says it was told by a member of the Taliban that the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence is attempting to broker an alliance of the Taliban remnants with the forces of renegade warlord Gulbuddin Hikmatyar. The ISI denies it and says it is cooperating with the US CIA and FBI.
The ISI is the Pakistani military intelligence division the functions like a combined FBI/ CIA for that country. It created the Taliban beginning in 1994 and supplied them with weapons, training, materiel and even adjunct troops, helping them come to power in in Afghanistan in 1996 and conquer all but 10 percent or so of the country. Former ISI chief Hamid Gul has been a big supporter of the Taliban and of al-Qaeda.
Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed, who headed the ISI in September of 2001, had to be dismissed by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, it is rumored because he was consulting with Taliban leader Mullah Omar on how to avoid turning over Bin Laden. The ISI supplied weapons to the Taliban as late as early October, 2001, in contravention of Pakistani undertakings with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, though thereafter Pakistan did cut off the Taliban.
If rogue elements within the ISI are in fact working to get Hikmatyar and the Taliban remnants together, this is a bad sign for stability in Pakistan. The fundamentalist intelligence officers may have been emboldened by the fact that the civilian fundamentalist politicians now control the Northwest Frontier Province, with its capital of Peshawar, where any such alliance would be forged.
Neither I nor Jang can vouch for the truth of what the talib said about the ISI, but it is, at the least, interesting.