Taliban reveals level of Pakistan aid

PAKISTAN’S security service provides weapons and training to Taliban insurgents fighting US and British troops in Afghanistan, despite official denials, Taliban commanders say, in allegations that could worsen tensions between Pakistan and the US.

A number of middle- ranking Taliban commanders revealed the extent of Pakistani support in interviews for a BBC documentary series, Secret Pakistan, the first part of which was broadcast last night.

A former head of Afghan intelligence also told the show that Afghanistan gave Pakistan’s former president General Pervez Musharraf, information in 2006 that Osama bin Laden was hiding in northern Pakistan close to where the former al-Qaida leader was eventually killed by US special forces in May.

Admiral Mike Mullen, then the top US military officer, accused Pakistani intelligence last month of backing violence against US targets including the US embassy in Kabul. He said the Haqqani network, an Afghan militant group blamed for the September 13 embassy attack, was a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Pakistan denies the US allegations.

One Taliban commander, Mullah Qaseem, told the BBC the important things for a fighter were supplies and a hiding place.

“Pakistan plays a significant role. First they support us by providing a place to hide which is really important. Secondly they provide us with weapons,” he said, according to excerpts provided by the BBC.

Other Taliban commanders described how they and their fighters were, and are, trained in a network of camps on Pakistani soil.

According to a commander using the name Mullah Azizullah, the experts running the training are either members of the ISI or have close links to it.

The BBC said Pakistan denied the allegations made in the programme.

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