‘Pak helped Taliban, Qaeda revival post 9/11’

Declassified US documents refute claims that there is no terrorist safe haven in Pak.

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2010, 10:33 AM IST

Washington: Pakistan`s tribal areas,
where Osama bin Laden found refuge, were momentarily open to
its Army when "the tribes were overawed by US firepower" after
9/11, but quickly again became "go" areas where Taliban could
reorganize and plan their resurgence in Afghanistan, some of
the declassified US documents have revealed.

The documents, of the events following the immediate
aftermath of 9/11, were released by the National Security
Archive of the George Washington University.

US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ronald E Neumann, said
the 2005 Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan was a direct
product of the "four years that the Taliban has had to
reorganize and think about their approach in a sanctuary
beyond the reach of either government."

This had exponentially increased casualties as the
Taliban adopted insurgency tactics in Iraq, including suicide
bombings and the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Neumann warned Washington if the sanctuary in Pakistan
were not addressed it would "lead to the re-emergence of the
same strategic threat to the US that prompted our OEF
[Operation Enduring Freedom] intervention" in 2001.

"I believe that what we are seeing is largely the
result of four years that Taliban has had to reorganize and
think about their approach in a sanctuary beyond the reach of
either Government," he wrote in a secret cable to Washington.

"This will lead to the increasing violence this
summer; it will lead to a long-term continuation of the
insurgency as long as they can re-supply from their current
areas; and, if left unaddressed, it will also lead, to the
re-emergence of the same strategic threat to the US that
prompted our OEF intervention over 4 years ago," he warned.

Another classified document, released today, which was
meant as a policy paper for the then US vice-president,
refutes the claims made by Pakistani officials that there is
no terrorist safe haven in their country, The Issue Paper
observes "some Taliban leaders operate with relative impunity
in some Pakistani cities, and may still enjoy support from the
lower echelons of Pakistan`s ISI."

But the "insurgency is not monolithic." Various
insurgent groups such as the Taliban, al Qaeda, Hizb-i-Islami
Gulbuddin (HiG) members, Haqqani and Jaish-i-Muslimeen have
"varying agendas, and lack internal cohesion," it said.

The paper describes Kabul`s strategy for combating the
insurgency as focusing "first on military action, second on
the Taliban reconciliation process and third, improving
relations and security cooperation with Pakistan".

The document also discusses non-military means of
combating the Taliban as the State Department concludes "the
Afghan government`s program to reconcile lower and mid-level
Taliban fighters has been moderately effective, but not yet
realized its potential.

PTI