Afghani FM: Rogue Pakistani agents boosting Taliban

Says if Afghanistan is stabilized, the whole region will be peaceful and prosper.

pakistan army 88 (photo credit: )
pakistan army 88
(photo credit: )
Rogue elements of Pakistan's military intelligence service, the ISI, have reequipped the Taliban and are seeking to destabilize Afghanistan, the country's foreign minister claimed Friday. While on a two-day visit to London, Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta told the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) that "within Pakistan's military intelligence establishment there is a very powerful circle who are seeking a protracted Afghanistan, not an independent Afghanistan." Unless these "elements" within the ISI are stopped it will be "impossible to succeed in the stabilization of Afghanistan," Spanta said. In a press conference at the Foreign Office in London, the Afghan foreign minister argued that peace was in the interests of both nations. "If there is stability in Afghanistan, the whole region will be peaceful and prosper and develop as well," he said. Spanta said his government was ready to offer an amnesty to all those who would accept the Afghan constitution and abide by the rule of law. However, "in order to establish and sustain cordial" relations between the two nations, Afghanistan's national sovereignty must be respected. The "Taliban's sudden collapse" in 2001 had led to an "excessive optimism" that did not match the "reality on the ground," he noted. Driven from the field of battle, the Taliban had regrouped "in their safe sanctuaries outside Afghanistan," he said. "Those who created the Taliban in the first place took full advantage of our excessive optimism and conflicting priorities by reenergizing the Taliban. In our backyard, for almost two years, the Taliban were given new training, equipment and structure. Therefore, their sudden apprehension was not spontaneous, but it was well planned and forthcoming," the foreign minister said. Pakistan has repeatedly denied any link between the ISI and the Taliban in recent years. In a November 18 interview with the German magazine Focus, Pakistan's president General Pervez Musharraf stated such claims were baseless. Pakistan is not a "banana republic" and its army is "well organized and loyal" to the government, he said. While Pakistani Pathan tribesmen may have been supporting the Taliban and other opponents of the Karzai regime, allegations that the ISI were involved were "baseless and incorrect," Musharraf said.