Foreign Policy Blogs

Pakistan's ISI Still in Bed with the Taliban

Ugh.  That is the only word that really sums up the feelings of frustration regarding the latest report from unnamed American government officials detailing support given to the Taliban by Pakistani military intelligence officials.  The US officials, which of course were not named because this information is supposedly not to become public, stated that Pakistan’s ISI, who created and fostered the Taliban back in the day, were still providing money, military supplies and strategic planning guidance to Taliban leaders and groups despite agreeing not to.  

These American officials refer to strong electronic surveillance and trustworthy informants to back up this claim.  I do not want to pretend that this situation is just cut and dry and can easily be solved with just the complete separation of Pakistani military officials and Taliban insurgent groups, but I think it can be argued that unless some major changes occur in this relationship, the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan will never be secure or stable and the central governments of Kabul and Islamabad will continue to be under siege.  

The US has been working with the Pakistani military well before even 9/11 and has provided billions of dollars of aid and after all this time stories like this are still common.  How can the Obama administration trust Pakstani intelligence and military leaders if this is still going on?  An apparent part of Obama’s new Afghan/Pakistan policy strategy is another influx of billions in aid and though we will surely hear how the money will be closely followed and mandated, one has to question how viable and secure this can possibly be.  I think it can be assumed that already a decent amount of US donations have gone to aid either the Taliban directly or indirectly.  Of course even US aid that finds its way to building schools and other facilities and programs are constantly attacked by insurgent elements, as it has been reported that hundreds of schools, especially those for women, have been forcibly closed or burned to the ground.

I don’t mean to sound so distraught or negative, but hearing another story such as this just reminds me how much further we all have to go in this fight.