Taliban Gets Pakistani Aid for Afghan Fight

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2009 8:14 PM CDT
A former Taliban militant hold his machine gun during a ceremony to hand it over to the Afghan government in Herat. The government has made gains in some regions, but the Taliban remains strong.   (AP Photo/Fraidoon Pooyaa)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – It's no great secret that Pakistan's spy agency has long lent a helping hand to the Taliban, but the scale of that aid appears to be larger and more diverse than thought, the New York Times reports. The secretive ISI provides money, supplies, and help with strategic planning to the militants fighting in Afghanistan against US-led troops. ISI agents are even meeting with Taliban commanders to advise them on the scope of attacks ahead of Afghanistan's August elections.

It's unlikely that Pakistan's top leaders are behind the ties, notes the Times, which based its account on information from a half-dozen American and Pakistani sources. US officials have long demanded that Islamabad force the ISI to sever ties, but the request appears to be a futile one. In fact, the Pakistani sources say the continued ties are not nearly as dire as Americans think. The ISI also reportedly reaches out to other militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed for the Mumbai attacks.