Pakistan's ISI is pushing the Taliban to attack US troops and their allies based in Afghanistan, the media here has said, close on the heels of a White House report that slammed Islamabad for not doing enough to battle terrorists holed up near the Af-Pak border.
Several similar charges against ISI have been made in the past but 'The Wall Street Journal' suggested that this one was the "strongest yet" and showed a "deteriorating relationship with an essential ally in the Afghan campaign" which had received billions of dollars in aid.
Some Taliban commanders and US officials have accused Pakistan's spy agency of telling the insurgents not to surrender and the Americans also say they have heard similar accounts from captured militants.
"The ISI wants to arrest commanders who are not obeying (ISI) orders," a Taliban militant in Kunar province was quoted as saying by the Journal.
"The ISI wants us to kill everyone — policemen, soldiers, engineers, teachers, civilians — just to intimidate people," he said, adding that when he refused the ISI had tried to arrest him. "Afghans are all brothers; tomorrow we could be sitting together in one room."
A senior Pakistani official, however, dismissed the allegation.
"Whenever anything goes wrong in Afghanistan, ISI is to be blamed," the official said. "Honestly, they see ISI agents behind every bush in Afghanistan."
Now, the ISI's motivation to keep friendly relations with the insurgents is believed to be desire to keep its leverage in Afghanistan when the US eventually leaves, as well as preventing India from getting cosy inside the war-torn country, the report said.
The newspaper further pointed out that the suspicions against the ISI are once again renewed at a time when the US is shifting focus to the militants that have found sanctuary in the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan, which border Afghanistan.
The Taliban and Haqqani network are believed to be planning and executing the majority of their attacks from the safe havens in North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal areas.