Washington: Pakistan has been playing a dubious role in Afghanistan while dealing with the Taliban and other terror outfits, alleged a veteran United States army colonel, Lawrence Sellin.
Sellin, who has served in Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission of West Africa, wrote in The Daily Caller that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) provided arms and ammunition to Taliban fighters in October 2001, just after U.S. bombing of Afghanistan began.
The then Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf held a meeting with ISI director Lt. Gen. Mahmod Ahmed and other top brass of the army, who argued that Pakistan should not help the United States at all in its war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
“Pakistan’s duplicity has continued for seventeen years. While accepting billions of dollars in military and economic aid, Pakistan has been slowly bleeding the U.S. to death in Afghanistan through its support of the Taliban, Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups”, said colonel (retd.) Sellin.
Shortly before his death in 2015, Lt. General Hamid Gul, the former head of Pakistan’s ISI, a committed Islamist and known as the “godfather of the Taliban”, explained Pakistan’s strategy in Afghanistan in an Urdu television interview.
“One day, history will say the ISI drove the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan with the help of USA and another sentence will be recorded that says the ISI drove the USA out of Afghanistan with the help of the USA”.
The Pakistani audience roared with laughter and applauded in approval.
Sellin wrote that contrary to the conventional wisdom, there is no combination of U.S. conventional, CIA or special operations assets that can defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan as long as the Taliban infrastructure and support network in Pakistan remains vulnerable.
He said, “Unlike 2001, the Taliban are not exposed in Afghanistan but sheltered in Pakistan, including a network of education, recruiting, training, financial and command and control centers. It is also no secret that the ISI employs local individuals and groups as “cut-outs” to facilitate the movement of Taliban fighters and supplies across the porous border.
After the recent Taliban attack on the Afghan provincial capital of Ghazni, large numbers of Pakistani nationals were found dead. They were presumably fighting with the Taliban. The bodies were subsequently returned to Pakistan.
The veteran U.S. Army colonel also blamed Beijing for changing the strategic dynamics of the region largely rendering U.S. Afghanistan policy obsolete.
“Not only does China maintain enormous leverage over Pakistan, financially and militarily, Beijing has been conducting its own secret negotiations with the Taliban for over a year”, he wrote.
In July, Pakistan hosted an unprecedented meeting of the intelligence chief of China, Russia, Iran and its own ISI to map out a security strategy for the region, apparently for a post-U.S. Afghanistan.
“Lacking any new ideas or even a recognition of reality, we have chosen to continue pursuing a proven unsuccessful strategy on Afghanistan”, said colonel Sellin.