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'Pakistan funded, armed Taliban'

world Updated: Aug 16, 2007 02:32 IST

PTI
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Close on the heels of a US intelligence report of a resurgence of Taliban in Pakistan’s border areas, newly declassified documents reveal that Islamabad was directly involved in funding, arming and advising the militant group.



The National Security Archives of the George Washington University has published details of American concerns over Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban during the seven-year period leading up to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.



The revelation comes just days after Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that there is “no doubt” Afghan militants are supported from Pakistani soil. “While Musharraf admitted the Taliban were being sheltered in the lawless frontier border regions, the declassified US documents released today (Tuesday) clearly illustrate that the Taliban was directly funded, armed and advised by Islamabad itself,” the National Security Archives said in a statement.



The government documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, also detailed US concerns about Pakistani troops training and fighting alongside the Taliban inside Afghanistan.



The Archives also pointed out is that these new documents also support and inform the findings of a recently-released CIA intelligence estimate characterising Pakistan’s tribal areas as a safe haven for Al-Qaeda terrorists.



“Declassified State Department cables and US intelligence reports describe the use of Taliban terrorist training areas in Afghanistan by Pakistani-supported militants in Kashmir, as well as Pakistan’s covert effort to supply Pashtun troops from its tribal regions to the Taliban cause in Afghanistan — effectively forging and reinforcing Pashtun bonds across the border and consolidating the Taliban’s severe form of Islam throughout Pakistan’s frontier region,” the Archives said.



Even though Islamabad denies that it ever provided military support to the Taliban, the documents reveal that in the weeks following the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 1996, Pakistan’s intelligence agency was “supplying the Taliban forces with munitions, fuel, and food,” the Archives said.