PAKISTAN AND THE TALIBAN….In the LA Times, Paul Watson reports that Pakistan’s military is actively engaged in training Taliban insurgents who are crossing the border to fight in Afghanistan:
Afghan officials allege that Taliban and allied fighters who fled to Pakistan after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 are learning new, more lethal tactics from the Pakistani military at numerous training bases.
“Pakistan is lying,” said Lt. Sayed Anwar, acting head of Afghanistan’s counter-terrorism department. “We have very correct reports from their areas. We have our intelligence agents inside Pakistan’s border as well.
….Zulfiqar Ali, a Pakistani journalist who freelances for the Los Angeles Times, recently reported that at least some training camps that were closed on [President Pervez] Musharraf’s orders have been reopened.
The government denies that there are training camps. But Ali, who also writes for the Pakistani magazine the Herald, visited one camp and found armed militants with fresh recruits as young as 13 undergoing 18-day “ideological orientation” and weapons training. Several sources said 13 militant camps had been reactivated in the Mansehra region alone in the first week of May.
In one sense, this is dog-bites-man stuff. Pakistan’s military helped build the Taliban in the 90s and has long had a fundamentalist core sympathetic to the Islamist cause. What’s more, for obvious reasons, Watson’s report is fairly thinly sourced. It’s not like he can take a tour of North Waziristan himself and conduct a census of military camps in the area.
Still, he connects some dots here that are worth connecting. It’s worth a read to get a sense of what we continue to be up against four years after Musharraf pledged his support to the U.S. fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.