NATO: Pakistani Intelligence Aiding Taliban, al-Qaeda
The pressure mounts on Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf and the precarious situation slowly but persistently erodes the stability of the Pakistani leadership as two rockets were found aimed at the Pakistani parliament in Islamabad in what is widely interpreted as a terse message from the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance. Adding to Musharraf’s closing walls is a scathing Operation Medusa after-action report written by furious NATO commanders that openly cites evidence that Pakistani intelligence (ISI) is directly supporting the Taliban with arms, logistics and training from within Pakistan for attacks on coalition troops inside Afghanistan.
After a bomb was detonated in a park near President Musharraf’s presidential home the previous night, which was hastily dismissed as unrelated to Musharraf before identifying the source, a construction worker discovered two rockets aimed at the Pakistani parliament building with the launchers rigged with a cell phone triggering device for remote control. While the rockets were safely transported away, the two together appear a clear message from the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance. An AdnKronos International report by Syed Saleem Shahzad cited ‘pro-Taliban militants’ who indicated precisely that message was the intent as they claimed to be warning the Pakistani government to honor its commitments made in the North Waziristan peace agreement. They complained that the Musharraf government still had Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners unreleased and had even arrested some since the agreement.
But the same North Waziristan Taliban sources also told Shahzad that the “unfinished agenda in the tribal area was the real reason behind the recent warning signals,” a direct reference to the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance’s immediate goal of wresting the entire North West Frontier Province from the Pakistani government. The province includes terrorism hotbed Peshawar, just 100 miles from the Pakistani capital.
But according to the Operation Medusa after-action report from NATO commanders, the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance is not operating in a vacuum against a monolithic Pakistani government. The report notes that 160 interrogated Taliban prisoners taken during the operation “described in detail the ISI’s support to the Taliban,” including massive amounts of arms. During the operation, where the report also says 1,100 Taliban fighters were killed, over 400,000 rounds of ammunition were fired by the Taliban, as well as 2,000 RPG’s(Rocket Propelled Grenades) and over 1,000 mortar rounds. With Pakistani ISI supply and logistical support, the Taliban had set up a one-million-round ammunition dump, assault and suicide bombing training camps and a full field surgical hospital in Panjwai, just 20 miles west of their objective, Kandahar. Said one angry NATO commander, “It is time for an ‘either you are with us or against us’ delivered bluntly to Musharraf at the highest political level.”
Musharraf’s troubles do not end there, as there is additional internal pressure building from terrorist groups angry about a perceived conciliatory stance toward India regarding the long-embattled Kashmir region. Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Ali Geelani accused Musharraf of carrying out a US plan for “accomplishing the Indian agenda” in Kashmir. Geelani said that “it is only Pakistan that is unilaterally forwarding proposals for a solution,” a joint Pakistani-Indian control solution that Jamaat-e-Islami and other terrorist groups want no part of.
Only adding to Musharraf’s troubles, the Indian police claim that the Pakistani ISI planned the Mumbai train bombings that were carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba, killing 186 people.
Even as Kashmiri terrorist groups grow more vocal in their own discontent, the North Waziristan peace deal with the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance has clearly not quelled the threat to Islamabad. The Taliban and al-Qaeda’s shared hunger for territory is not satisfied and their operational ability is clearly capable of reaching the halls of power in the Pakistani capital. With the unrelenting pressure only added to by angry NATO commanders in Afghanistan and convinced counterterrorism officials in India, the stability of the government of a nuclear-armed state is increasingly in question, right in the heartland of Islamic terrorists.