Pakistan’s past policies of extending support to the Taliban during and after the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan are still haunting it as Islamabad authorities have to reject the accusations of support and sanctuary for the Afghan Taliban and its leaders again and again before the world. Lately, Pakistan has been caught in the crossfire due to the alleged disclosure of certain letters by Rahmatullah Nabil, former head of the Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security, alleging Islamabad of having links with militant groups that carry out attacks inside Afghanistan.
Nabil, who resigned last December after strongly criticising Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s overtures toward Pakistan on social media, has said that he leaked the documents because he wanted the public to be aware of the situation. These unverified letters contain an exchange of information and specific messages allegedly communicated between Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan. The text consists of an order from the ISI officials for making payments to militants, arranging safe houses and transportation of Taliban leaders in Pakistan. Other documents contained similar information, like a letter from the ISI to its offices in Nowshera directing them to move all Haqqani network militants to the towns of Miran Shah, Tochi and Mir Ali in army convoys, as well as tighten the security for them and their families. During his press conference, Nabil told a group of journalists in Kabul that he had released the letters to provide concrete evidence of Pakistan’s collusion with the Taliban and the associated Haqqani group, which has been blamed for a series of kidnappings and high profile suicide bombings in the capital.
Although the authenticity of the documents has not been verified, yetthe information gives hints about certain happenings that prove Pakistan’s alleged support to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. Pakistan had lost its credibility when the most notorious terrorist of the world, Osama bin Laden, was found living safely with his family members in a compound located in Abbottabad. There are other such examples like the killing of Mullah Omar and Mullah Akhtar Mansour that further strengthen the idea that these militants enjoyed safe sanctuaries, and were being provided shelter by the establishment in Pakistan. The presence of the Quetta Shura is another shameful example that negates Islamabad’s claims that it has no links with the Afghan Taliban.
New evidence surfacing from Afghanistan is not surprising, but without doubt it would further worsen Islamabad’s relations with Kabul and the US. By extending support to the Afghan Taliban in the past, Pakistan has put itself into a great trouble. It was like playing with fire. It is a difficult situation for Pakistan and its civil and military leadership, and they have to prove through action that it is no more in collusion with the Taliban. Instead of allowing the US to strike these terrorists inside Pakistan’s territory, Islamabad itself should eliminate them. Alternatively, Pakistan has to use its influence on the Taliban who are ready to quit violence and become a part of the peace process. *