‘It’s no secret what Pakistan’s been doing with the Taliban’

Tariq Ali on Pakistan’s role in the war in Afghanistan for the Guardian, July 30, 2010

All sides know what’s been going on since Afghanistan was first occupied. It’s also clear that this war can’t be won …

David Cameron’s post-WikiLeaks remarks on Pakistan helping the enemy in the Hindu Kush shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The carefully orchestrated “outburst” in India was designed to please his hosts and seal a few business deals (Cameron and Cable are fagging for the British arms industry). It’s all part of the schmoozing.

Pakistan’s official response was equally disingenuous. Since it’s impossible for Islamabad to attack the organ grinder, it went for the monkey.

Meanwhile all sides know full well what the Pakistan army has been doing with various Taliban factions since Afghanistan was occupied nearly nine years ago. Three years ago a US intelligence agent was shot dead by a Pakistani soldier at such talks—as reported in the Pakistani press. A source close to the Pakistani military told me last year in Islamabad that US intelligence agents were present at recent talks between the ISI and the insurgents. No reason for anybody to be surprised. The cause, too, is clear. The war cannot be won.

It’s hardly a secret that Pakistan never totally abandoned the Taliban after 9/11. How could they? It was Islamabad that had organised the Taliban’s retreat from Kabul so that the US and its allies could take the country without a fight. The Pakistani generals advised their Afghan friends to bide their time.

As the war in Afghanistan deteriorated, the insurgency grew. It was the social chaos and the political corruption of Hamid Karzai’s outfit that made a foreign occupation even worse in the eyes of many Afghans, bringing a new generation of Pashtuns into battle—young men who had not been part of the displaced regime. It is this neo-Taliban that has effectively organised the spread of resistance, which as the IED diagram revealed by WikiLeaks showed, extends to virtually every part of the country. read more

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