The classified war documents leaked recently by the WikiLeaks website might have shocked many in the international community, but not India. The biggest leak in US intelligence history has in fact substantiated New Delhi’s claims that Islamabad has been supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks, has released 92,201 classified US military reports on Afghanistan. According to the documents leaked by the group, representatives from Pakistan`s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), held secret strategy sessions with the Taliban to put in order militant networks to attack US soldiers.
The leaked US military documents also claim that the Polish intelligence had tipped off of a possible Taliban strike on the Indian embassy in Kabul, just a week before the July 2008 bombing of the Indian mission.
"Taliban are planning to carry out an attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. TB (Taliban) designated an engineer - to take this action," WikiLeaks quoted the Polish intelligence warning.
After the attack on the Indian embassy, the US’ Central Intelligence Agency’s then deputy director Stephen R Kappes went to Islamabad with the proof that ISI had lent its support in organising the deadly attack on July 07, 2008, which killed 58.
The documents, dating from 2004 to 2009, also revealed that the ISI has formed a semi-autonomous `S-wing` to run operations against India and Afghanistan.
The files disclosed that the ISI had allegedly made the offer of USD 15,000-30,000 for the killing of Indian construction workers in Afghanistan.
They also revealed that the ISI was linked to a plot to kill Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Responding to the leaked files, Karzai said, “The recent documents leaked out to the media clearly support and verify ... that success over terrorism does not come with fighting in Afghan villages, but by targeting its sanctuaries and financial and ideological sources across the borders.”
"Our efforts against terrorism will have no effect as long as these sanctuaries and sources remain intact," Karzai said.
It is clear that if the US wants to defeat Taliban, it has to ensure that the ISI doesn’t support the group.
Pakistan has dismissed the documents alleging ISI-Taliban ties as "baseless" and "skewed".
Addressing the media, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said Pakistan’s "constructive and positive role in Afghanistan" cannot be affected by such "baseless and self-serving reports".
Yes, Pakistan has a role to play in Afghanistan, but a ‘destructive’ one. India has, a number of times, warned the global community about the deep ties between Pakistan’s ISI and militant groups in Afghanistan. It is not that India’s warnings are falling on deaf ears. The fact is that the US needs Pakistan for its Afghan strategy.
Just days after WikiLeaks leaked US documents, British Prime Minister David Cameron provoked an infuriated reaction from Islamabad after he accused Pakistan of promoting the export of terror in the world.
“We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that [Pakistan] is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India, whether to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the world.”
Recently, Pakistan was left red-faced when Indian Home Secretary GK Pillai told a daily that David Coleman Headley had revealed to interrogators that the ISI played a significant role in Mumbai terror attacks. The Pakistan agency was “literally controlling and coordinating it (26/11 attacks) from the beginning to the end,” he said.
It pinched Pakistan so much that the country’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi made highly undiplomatic remarks about External Affairs Minister SM Krishna while briefing the Pakistani media on July 16.
Of late, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that elements in the Pakistan government, especially its intelligence establishment, know where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is hiding inside the country. She said, "I assume somebody in this (Pakistan) government, from top to bottom, does know where bin Laden is. And I`d like to know too." She can’t be clearer than this.
At least 190 reports of the leaked files have mentioned the ISI. The documents also accuse former ISI director-general, Hamid Gul, of plotting to abduct UN staff to use as hostages in a swap deal for militants languishing in jails.
It is an undeniable fact that Pakistan is in a mess and the South Asian country can`t talk its way out of this? The leaked documents have once again left Pakistan’s ill-wills stark naked.
First Published: 7/30/2010 9:09:22 AM