Carlotta Gall spent 12 years in Afghanistan, and spent much of her time investigating the sources of the Taliban resurgence. She traced it back to Pakistan, and discovered that the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) was secretly supportive of both the Taliban and al Quaeda.

Gall writes, “The Pakistani government, under President Pervez Musharraf and his intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, was maintaining and protecting the Taliban, both to control the many groups of militants now lodged in the country and to use them as a proxy force to gain leverage over and eventually dominate Afghanistan. The dynamic has played out in ways that can be hard to grasp from the outside, but the strategy that has evolved in Pakistan has been to make a show of cooperation with the American fight against terrorism while covertly abetting and even coordinating Taliban, Kashmiri and foreign Qaeda-linked militants. The linchpin in this two-pronged and at times apparently oppositional strategy is the ISI. It’s through that agency that Pakistan’s true relationship to militant extremism can be discerned — a fact that the United States was slow to appreciate, and later refused to face directly, for fear of setting off a greater confrontation with a powerful Muslim nation.”

More on: Afghanistan, Pakistan

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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