Pakistan and the Taliban: Flux in an Old Relationship?

Tara Kartha, Research Fellow, IDSA


Strange as it may seem to the outside observer, the last two decades in the history of Pakistan and Afghanistan have led to a situation wherein the two countries are invariably taken together as one. The evolution of the term "Pakistan-Afghanistan" region in any discussion on narcotics, terrorism, money laundering or gun running underlines the extent to which a once proudly independent country has been subsumed and nearly incorporated into the ambitious state next door. That such an event has occurred during the supposedly civilised times that we now live in—when virtual annexations are considered unthinkable—is difficult to accept. Yet for all practical purposes, the sinews of the state of Afghanistan lie in Pakistan. The currency used is Pakistani rupees, its border now no longer exists even on paper, and much of its "armed forces" are either Pakistani or linked to that country in diverse ways.

Yet it is to the constant worry of Pakistani policy-makers, that the process is not yet complete. One slice of Afghan territory continues to be held by the recognised government of Afghanistan, that of President Rabbani, while the rest is under the dubious control of a group that remains beholden to Pakistan for everything but its name.

Having said as much, it must be noted that the costs to Pakistan of this "virtual annexation" have been inordinately heavy. There is much to show that these costs also include the sacking of a democratic government by a military that has its own agenda in Afghanistan. Socially, the costs have been the most obvious, as Pakistan threatens to spin out of control in a paroxysm of violence that pits different radical religious sects against each other, in what observers call the "Talibanisation" of Pakistan. Diplomatically, Pakistan stands accused by both friends and others of being the main supporter of terrorism that emanates from Afghanistan. Economically, the constant violence and mayhem in financial centres like Karachi has meant a flight of capital and loss of foreign investment. Politically, the country has been the loser, with democracy once again hijacked, and the new regime justifying its move on the slogan that the greatest threat to Pakistan was internal and not external (that this statement was made at the same time that the army was planning its Kargil War is another matter).

Two sets of variables, therefore, influence the future Pakistani policy towards its western neighbour. First, Pakistan has to get its own internal situation under control and remove armed gangs and around five million weapons from its streets. In short, the state of Pakistan has to control the streets and to be seen as doing so. Development and investor confidence are directly linked to this event. Second, and linked to this is the fact that investor confidence can hardly invent itself as long as Pakistan stands suspect of providing sustenance and support to an array of terrorist groups, and, thus, remains virtually under the shadow of being declared a terrorist state. Pakistan has to either tame the tiger that it has created, or give up all its objectives in Afghanistan. On the ground this means that Pakistan has to win—and quickly—so that the Taliban can lay claim to the UN seat, and the stability that is assumed to go along with it. If it does not do so, then it must consider the alternatives.

This paper traces Pakistan-Afghanistan relations in the period after Kargil, when the focus of international attention on the region was sharpened in the wake of the hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft, the sacking of a prime minister, and the ambitions of a military that appears to realise that this could very well be its last chance at ruling the country. This period is also evocative of the pulls and pressures within Pakistan, and indeed—as mentioned at the beginning of this paper—provides a brief on Pakistan itself during an important phase of its history.

For the sake of cogent analysis, the paper begins with a summary of what Pakistan's objectives were to begin with in launching the Taliban. This is followed by a brief review of Pakistan-Taliban relations in the first phase (November 1994-June 1999), with the objective of getting an answer to two crucial and interrelated questions: Has Pakistan been able to achieve its objectives in Afghanistan? What are the constraints that apply to a full realisation of these objectives with regard to the new regime? In the final analysis, does Pakistan "control" Afghanistan? It must be noted that "control" here is taken to mean that the primary actor can influence the behaviour and actions of the secondary actor so as to lead to an outcome that is perceived as being satisfactory to the former and reasonably so to the latter.

Constants or Add Ons?: Pakistan's Objectives in Afghanistan

As is now well known, Islamabad began its campaign of covert war in Afghanistan as early as 1973, when it began to arm and train batches of 30-40 disaffected elements, an operation that was carried out with help from the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency),1 according to the then governor of the Frontier Provinces, General Fazle Haq.2 The former governor of the Frontier Provinces Maj General Nasirullah Babbar also confirms that Pakistan began training and arming of disaffected Afghans in 1973.3 Between 1973-77, Pakistan trained an estimated 5,000 dissidents and channelled aid to the Hazaras located in central Afghanistan.4 This programme, started by Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was essentially a move against the regime of Sardar Daud who was a strong proponent of "Pashtunistan"—which was essentially diplo-speak for Afghan ambitions on what was undoubtedly Pashtun territory in Pakistan. The operation nearly achieved its aims, since Kabul is said to have come calling to discuss the possibility of recognition of the Durand Line.

However, as the Soviets moved in, matters changed completely. The region was sucked into the vortex of Cold War competition, as American "aid"—which started at about $30 million in 1980 and exceeded $ one billion a year by 19895—began to flow into the region. The operation, which was controlled by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan, tied in with the original objectives, as well as appeared to fit in with new ones. The Pashtun problem was subsumed under the banner of jehad, thus, propagating a pan-Islamic identity rather than an ethno-nationalist one. At one stroke, this negated what had till then been Kabul's trump card, and allowed Islamabad to hunt with the "devil" and run with the hounds. US aid was, thus, legitimised in the greater Islamic cause, even as Pakistan was projected as the courageous adversary against the Reds (the indifference of the government during the mob attack on the US embassy in November 1979 apparently having been forgotten).

Other objectives in this second phase were important "add ons". The nuclear programme initiated under Bhutto was clearly not one that the Americans would be at all comfortable with. The astute General Zia, therefore, managed to tie in Pakistan's new found status to the US turning a blind eye to its activities in this field. Moreover, a considerable amount of military equipment began to arrive for the courageous ally, all of which was supposed to protect it from the might of the Soviets. Aircraft, guns and tanks flowed into the armouries of Pakistan, even as the ISI was presented with the greatest gift of all—an unprecedented supply of light weapons, finance (in the form of drugs money) and no accountability. In the evocative words of a Pakistani intelligence officer. "We could have conducted operations on Mars…"6

The third phase began in 1992 with the withdrawal of the superpowers, and the unexpected resilience of the Najibullah regime. The equally unexpected disappearance of the Soviet Union led to an expansion of Pakistan's aims. If the nominally Islamic regimes of Central Asia could be brought under the Pakistani fold (especially since it offered the nearest outlet to the sea that was not actively opposed by the US) this would mean an end to Pakistan's "South Asia—minimal power" status, and the emergence of Pakistan as "a pillar of the Muslim world."

However, by 1994, even existing trade between the Central Asian Republics (CARs) and Pakistan had stopped due to the chaos of infighting in Afghanistan. The truckers mafia controlled by the Pashtuns (who had enriched themselves considerably during the massive covert operation) began to pressure their own "man" in upper circles—the interior minister and former trouble shooter for Afghanistan, General (retd.) Nasirullah Babbar. Within Pakistan itself, Benazir Bhutto was trying to wrest the control of state policy, including foreign policy, from the ISI.

Thus, it was that the Taliban—groups of religious students who had indeed been operating even during the time of the jehad—were brought under the wing of the Interior Ministry, a fact that is now openly admitted by the general himself.7 And, thus, was born the force that was in a completely different operation than had been done before. This was so open as to mock the tag of "covert" assistance, so large as to make it a near "bottom up" exercise, and so extensive that it was difficult to think of one area where that force could manage on its own.

As observers note, everything from the tin plates for the rucksacks to the communications lines were Pakistani delivered. Thus, the objective now was the sustenance and creation of an army that was well equipped, and that was to be simply an extension of the Pakistan Army in all but name. (That the US had a fair—but unknown—share in the equipping of this army meant that some of the benefits would have to be shared with the US.)

Thus, it was that following an extensive review of army doctrine which led to the propagation of the doctrine of "offensive defence" (and the use of the Mujahideen during the exercise which preceded it), General Aslam Beg was heard to say that "Afghanistan and Pakistan were two countries but one people…and any future war will be our war, which gives the Pakistan army added capability".8 This perception was outlined in an article in a prominent defence journal which noted that the inclusion of the 500,000 battle-trained Mujahideen to the 500,000-strong Pakistan Army would forever change the balance of power on the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent.9 This emerged as the last point (so far) of the evolution of Pakistani policy and objectives towards Afghanistan. Thus, what started as a "border conflict", escalated into an objective of controlling an entire country as well as using it to further irredentist claims elsewhere.

The Taliban Today

However, all of this assumed that the "Taliban" would remain a fairly disciplined body that would prove amenable to Pakistani prodding, and grateful for assistance. Indeed, there was every reason to suppose that this prodding would succeed, given that Pakistani "assistance" was complete in certain crucial areas:

l Weapons and ammunition.

l Tactical direction.

l Training.

l Recruitment.

Additionally, it was the Pakistani knowledge (and leverage) with different commanders that "persuaded" them (either with money or the promise of a quick demise) to join up with the Taliban—which did much to propagate the false idea that this was a "social" movement rather than a propped up Kandahari clique.

Pakistani assistance at crucial points—like during the fall of Kandahar—emerged as a critical factor. When this was not present, the Taliban forays tended to be rather unsuccessful, revealing a poor knowledge of conventional battle (which is usually anathema to the average Pashtun). At a later date, Pakistani assistance to an extent was also able to hold together the Taliban "forces" which displayed a tendency to drift away once their own areas had been cleaned up. The input of continuous recruitment from the Pakistani side was, therefore, crucial. In addition to this were the following areas of assistance which tied Afghanistan with an umbilical cord of considerable strength to the Pakistani economy and politics:

l Fuel.10

l Communications (telephone lines were linked to Peshawar).

l Road building.

l Technicians for airports, aircraft.

l Medical assistance.

l Cheap wheat imports (which prevented the growth of wheat in Afghanistan to replace the poppy crop).

l Funding (through drug caravans and the Afghan Trade and Transit Agreement—ATTA).

l Most importantly, as a diplomatic conduit

But this kind of intense Pakistani linkage was bound to affect the evolution of the Taliban itself. What started out as a genuinely local and highly ideologically orientated group has today become something of a mixed bunch. While the top echelons around Mullah Omar to an extent continue along the same lines, the motivations of the rest are naturally affected by the opportunities offered by their linkages across the border, and their own persuasions.

Some points need to be noted here regarding the creation of the Taliban.

l While the Taliban came out of the files of the Interior Ministry (with over 65,000 troops commanded by a serving army officer) it still had to have the approval of the army brass—especially the Pashtun sections.

l The bottom most rung (which is the largest) has within it the few who have survived the initial battles of the Taliban (which were simply disorganised massed attacks) and who are still perhaps fired by ideology. Another segment of this same rung is made up of foreigners of various persuasions, some of whom (like the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) Pakistanis and some Kashmiris) are there to be "trained", including the AI Queda of Osama Bin Laden. At this level are those who have joined from Pakistani madrassas (the youngest age group) and the ones most prone to sliding into a life of crime or perpetual war.

l The Pakistani segment is also the most useful in maintaining the facade of a jehad against the evil forces of the "West supported" Northern Alliance, and being relatively better educated, are most useful in handling communications and logistics. At the obverse end it also means that it gives Pakistan a vast and permanent intelligence gathering unit into almost every aspect of Taliban activity. This then is the Taliban which is accused of subverting Pakistan itself, and spreading terrorism into the neighbouring areas.

Pakistan and the Taliban—Post-Kargil

By mid-1999, extensive reports of the Pakistani involvement in the Kargil conflict, as well as the Pakistani nexus with terrorism in Afghanistan at almost every level made prominent stories. News analysis underlined the Harkat-ul-Ansar's nodal role in allotting trainees to their different sectors and their importance in running the training camps. Reports noted that more than 8,000 Pakistanis were in the Taliban ranks with a diplomat quoted as saying, "The state is privatising war to advance its own goals".11 Photographs of Pakistani prisoners of war only added to this impression. In July 1999, the UN envoy for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahmi, was noting the involvement of Pakistani youth in what was essentially a local war. He noted, "They call it jehad. Nobody else does".12

The US ambassador to Pakistan had taken the somewhat unprecedented step in May 1999 to publicly caution Pakistan that it risked antagonising the US if it continued to pursue its pro-Taliban policy. Policy circles in Pakistan saw this as additional pressure on Pakistan to use its influence on the Taliban. Indeed, the ambassador said as much, claiming that Pakistan was assisting the Taliban in "different fields".13 In August, exactly a year after the east African bombing of US embassies, rumours were rife that the US was moving in special forces to capture Bin Laden. This set the cat among the pigeons.

The rumour was given credence by Qatari TV which announced that two US military aircraft had landed at airports in Pakistan and commandos had taken up positions around the field.14 This led to a clarion call from Mullah Omar for "all Muslim states to stand by Afghanistan" and an outpouring of venom from extremist parties within Pakistan. The relatively moderate Jamaat-e-Islami—perhaps in a venture to appear even more revolutionary than the rest—joined issue with the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) (Fazlur) which had already been threatening Washington with a hit "within 8 hours"15 of any act against Osama Bin Laden while the JUI (Samiul Haque) was equally graphic in its threats. Miranshah, Waziristan and other Pashtun tribal areas appeared to be up in arms against possible US action. This was followed by a massive exodus of Afghan youths (mostly under 17) from the madrassas of Pakistan. Reports from Pakistan noted that "thousands" of youths were enrolling in the Taliban ranks. Indeed, large madrassas like the Darul Uloom Haqqania (Akora Khattak) remained shut for 10 days in response to the message from the Taliban leader.16 This was confirmed by the Taliban spokesman who noted that the students included both Pakistanis and Afghans sent to study in the seminaries.17 Clearly matters appeared to be coming to a head.

Meanwhile "consultations" were on, with Pakistan sponsoring talks at Dushanbe, with a contingent led interestingly by Interior Ministry officials.18 This was apparently aimed at power sharing arrangements with the Opposition but ended with the latter refusing to discuss a settlement till Pakistan stopped supporting the Taliban. Commander Masood was heard to note that over 1,000 Pakistani officers were present in Kabul to advise and assist the Taliban.19 The Taliban in its turn accused the Opposition forces of liaising with the Israelis, an accusation that seems to have been aimed at ending Iranian support for the group.20

In Parliament, enraged senators—stung after the defeat at Kargil and using it as a bludgeon against the ruling party—were ironically warning that this constituted a "naked intervention" in the affairs of a neighbouring country.21 Across Pakistan, there was a rash of sectarian terrorist attacks (13 sectarian incidents in 10 days) adding fuel to the perceived threat from the "Talibanisation" and the spread of weapons from the war next door.

Within the government, tensions were high enough to be palpable. The post-Kargil rift between the inner decision-makers and the army was again apparent. In September 1999, a rather unusual number of persons were hurrying to Washington. One was Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and the other was the Director General (DG) of the ISI, Lt General Ziauddin. Prominent papers speculated on these sudden visits, especially since the army chief had yet to make a visit (General Musharraf—unlike most of his fellow officers—has had no training/courses in the US at all). Sharif is said to have met Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, and Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Karl Inderfurth among others. An in-camera meeting of the Cabinet (minus the military secretary) furthered rumours. Meanwhile, the visit of the ISI chief was declared as "routine consultations"22 though other reports noted that the DG was asked for a briefing in response to a fear of a "Talibanisation of a nuclear armed Pakistan".

Reliable reports from Pakistan noted that the US had warned the Pakistanis about a possible "international reaction" to Pakistan's failure to prevent patronage of terrorism. The threat of placing Pakistan under the State Department's list of terrorist states was reportedly held out.23 Side by side, it was known that the US was piloting a proposal at the UN Security Council for sanctions against the Taliban.

Many of these stories were confirmed when the DG-ISI visited Kabul with the "request" that the Taliban shut down terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. This reportedly led to an impasse with the army which had always controlled Afghan operations—though this was done through the front of the ISI. The Army Chief General Musharraf—who had taken the precaution of appointing his loyalists like General Mahmud Aziz as deputy chief of the ISI and packed other posts with his own men—ordered that all matters concerning Afghanistan would be shifted to the chief of General Staff's office. This was an absolute challenge to the political brass, who were not slow in responding.

In October 1999, the prime minister himself made the startling announcement that he had asked the supreme leader of the Taliban to shut down the terrorist camps.24 This charge was, according to him, made on "solid" evidence that had been put together for him by the intelligence agencies. As a daily observed, "Who on earth can believe that it was only last week that Islamabad came to know about Pakistanis given military training?"25 The overwhelming opinion was that this was a signal to official agencies to delink themselves from all militant groups—at least those under US scrutiny. But curiously, it was also noted that this "paradigm shift" had not even been discussed in the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) nor was the army given a perspective over the warnings from the US.26

The prime minister's blunt message was hastily reworked by the Foreign Ministry which noted that the Taliban was helping Pakistan to deal with the problem, and that while Afghanistan was indeed a base, the Taliban was hardly involved.27 Sartaj Aziz noted that the Taliban's "help" was solicited, and this was hardly an unprecedented step. He claimed that the Taliban was not in control of the whole of Afghanistan, and indeed Pakistan "was not concerned whether or not people get training in Afghanistan. But when it comes to Pakistan, it becomes a key issue."28 To buttress this, the administration launched an anti-sectarian sweep in which over 100 men of the extremist Sipah-e-Sahaba were arrested.

The Taliban leadership reacted to this volte face, by noting that a clear distinction be made between terrorists and freedom fighters29 (a point of view that was to have a significant impact on the following government). One observer noted presciently"…the government is currently trapped between a rock and a hard place. In any case it will lose…"30

The backlash from the Islamists was that the Nawaz "discovery" of Pakistanis being trained in Afghanistan was simply paving the way for US action, while news analysts were also wondering at this paradigm shift in Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, and the possible motivations for such a swift change. In Afghanistan, the threat had some curious effects. Mullah Omar announced that Afghanistan was ready to talk on terrorism to anyone in the world. Alongside this, however, he ordered a massive reshuffle in the Taliban administration. Some of the changes made are worthy of note here. Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil was elevated from the post of spokesman to that of foreign minister. An old guard Taliban like Mullah Khairkhawa was shifted out from the post of interior minister to governor of Herat, as well as the Helmand areas. Mullah Akunzada (once a powerful force in Helmand in the pre-Taliban days, and linked closely with the Pakistani elite) was made corps commander, Kabul. Mullah "Rocketi", known to have been responsible for the kidnapping of Chinese engineers, and an arms dealer for the Taliban, was moved from the sensitive Jalalabad area to the western frontier. Essentially this saw a shift of power to the core Taliban, while those with close connections to the Pakistani institutions or other circles were moved out of the areas near the Pakistani border.31

This appeared to be in reaction to reports that Pakistani contingents, with CIA assistance, were moving to attack Afghan camps. On October 10, 1999, reports appeared of these groups, put at around 30-50 each, moving out from Torkham and Chaman.32 This was apparently "confirmed" by bureaucrats, but there was no independent assessment nor indeed any further news of these commando raids. Whether they existed at all is open to some doubt. But the Afghan side obviously felt it was serious enough to quickly upgrade security at sensitive camps. Clearly, there was a rift between Islamabad and Kabul—real or simply created for the moment—with the former fearing air strikes, and the latter doing everything it could to fuel the stories in the Press of a "turnaround" in Pakistani policy.

On October 12, another incident highlighted the flux within the relationship. Mullah Omar was targetted in a truck bombing which narrowly missed killing him though it did hit several senior commanders. Oddly enough, the chief made haste to note that the USA was "not involved"—a statement that led to renewed suspicions that at least some sections of the US Administration still had "connections" with the Taliban.

On October 12, 1999, the army took over power.

The Taliban and the New Regime

Ironically, the man who had planned Kargil and headed an institution that incorporated the use of jehadi irregulars as part and parcel of its strategy33 was initially seen as a "moderate" element who would prove to be more harsh on the Taliban extremist policies. Few cared to remember that the general had once been closely working with Bin Laden himself during the Afghan operations, and had used the group to quell a Shia uprising in Gilgit.34 However, to his credit, the general, while unorthdox in his methods, was apparently motivated by realpolitik rather than religion. In January 1999, he was heard to warn of internal dangers to Pakistan being at the forefront while he pointed to the "zero" possibility of war with India35 even as preparations for just such a war had been set afoot. Realpolitik, therefore, demanded that Pakistan do a little shifting and changing in its policy towards Kabul—even as the objectives were kept intact. Thus, General Musharraf appeared to have soothed the fears of the US ambassador when he called for a representative government in Kabul and indeed showed all initial signs of sweeping with a new broom in the country's foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) passed the resolution to impose limited sanctions on the Taliban (October 15) but which was due to go into effect as of November 14, 1999. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the UN, the Security Council determined that the Taliban's failure to respond to demands to stop terrorism36 constituted a threat to international peace and security. The crucial clauses were that the Taliban give up shelter to, and training of, international terrorists, and use of the territory "under its control" for terrorist installations and camps, or for the preparation or organisation of terrorist acts against other states or their citizens. Another clause specifically demanded the handing over of Osama bin Laden to "appropriate authorities" who would bring him to justice.37

The next move of the new government appeared to contradict its stated posture. It ordered the release of goods imported under the ATTA—a huge source of smuggling for the Taliban and the Pakistani transborder mafia—and additionally was reported to have waived Rs 8 billion worth of excise duty on these goods.38 Considering that Pakistan has been extremely shrill on the ramifications of the ATTA trade and the huge losses in revenue to the staggering economy, this was a surprising development.

A few days later, the new administration was faced with yet another crisis. Just two days before the UN sanctions were to take effect, a series of seven rockets were fired at the US embassy, UN building, American cultural centre and downtown government buildings, wounding at least six people. All seven attacks appeared to have occurred within a two-minute time span, and were fired from cars parked in the vicinity.39 Representative Frank Pallone blamed Pakistan and its unstinting support for the Taliban,40 but the attackers themselves remained unidentified. Former chief of the ISI Javed Nasir, accused the Masood faction of perpetrating the blasts,41 while others pointed a finger at the Taliban, since it was they who had been "warning" against the imposition of sanctions. Mullah Omar himself condemned the blasts as "unIslamic"—which was at one with his earlier hair-splitting on what constituted terrorism and what constituted violence permitted by jehad.

With the sanctions coming into effect, Iran moved to open borders with the Taliban (at Islam Quilla), indicating its contempt for what was seen as US-sponsored sanctions, as well as its decision to keep the doors open to talks with the Taliban. Moves were also made to reopen the consulate—a move that was viewed with concern in Pakistani intelligence circles. Iran followed this up with two simultaneous conferences in Rome and Iran, which propagated the return of Zahir Shah and the calling of a loya jirga.

The sanctions themselves were, however, rather a sham. They required Pakistan—and other neighbours—to cut off diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, as well as all funds by "their nationals, or by any persons within their territory, to or for the benefit of the Taliban or any undertaking, owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Taliban." As a former president of the Quetta Chamber of Commerce noted, the Taliban—or those who lived within those territories—hardly had any need for banking facilities, since all transactions were made in cash. Besides, all large deals were made in Pakistani rupees.42 The sanctions apparently helped boost the profits of the smugglers, and encourage the existing cross-border illegal trade to a considerable degree. This was apparent as an acute flour crisis deepened in the Frontier regions, and observers pointed out that this was due to the complicity of border officials with smugglers.43 The importance of the illicit trade in post-Taliban Afghanistan is underlined by Ahmed Rashid who notes that this rose from a mere $128 million in 1992-93 to a staggering $2.5 billion in 1997, which is more than half of Afghanistan's estimated gross domestic product (GDP). When the income from narcotics smuggling is added, this, according to Rashid, should amount to $5 billion.44 Thus, it was hardly surprising that the UN sought a report from Pakistan on the steps taken by it to impose sanctions.

Meanwhile, the Taliban responded by opening yet another border post (Nawa Pass) to apparently facilitate the crossing of relatives and others. However, Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar announced that all Taliban accounts had been frozen and that Pakistan would respect the sanctions. How this would affect the reported $2.5 billion illegal trade with Afghanistan, and the supply of all essential commodities and services (including electricity and communications) remained unclear.

Meanwhile, the administration sent home some 120,000 Afghan refugees, even as it sought "world neutrality" on Afghanistan. Speaking at the UN, Pakistan's ambassador noted that it was unproductive to demonise one side, and backed the six-plus-two initiatives as the only way out of the conflict.45 This statement appeared to be in reaction to a report by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that castigated the Taliban's dismal human rights record, the increasing terrorising of the population, as well as the growing presence of thousands of young volunteers—some children under the age of 14—from religious schools in Pakistan.46

The hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight from Nepal to Kandahar appeared to underline the role of the Pakistani connection. Indian decision-makers noted that radio intercepts between the hijackers and their contacts in Pakistan, and the later disappearance of the hijackers into Pakistan underlined the thesis. The Taliban's attitude was, however, more mixed. On the one hand, they offered cooperation on the issue, but, on the other, they effectively prevented any commando action by the Indians. Analysts noted that both the Indian negotiators and the hijackers had been pressurised by the Taliban,47 indicating a savvy and confident negotiating stance from the Taliban. This was further apparent as Taliban fighters simply lounged around the aircraft and drank tea, and to all appearances seemed content to sense no threat to anyone. The only jolt to this was the unexpected demand for a ransom of $200 million by the hijackers. This was one demand that was not only negotiable but might have been accepted by the Indians, especially since it clearly exposed the motivations of the "freedom fighters". Islamist groups as well as Taliban spokesmen noted that they were "stunned" by the demand, since this would make the hijackers lose whatever sympathy they might have gained.48 As it happened, this demand was denounced as "unIslamic" (condoning apparently the seizure of innocents as Islamic) before New Delhi could react, raising suspicions that the "cooperation" hid ulterior motives. Other sources like the Washington Post also noted, "Afghanistan and Pakistan are trying to have it both ways on terrorism. They play host to terrorist groups yet wax indignant when terrorists hijack an aircraft or…blow up US embassies."49

International Reactions: The Pace Hots Up

A surprising event thereafter underlined the slowly building consensus among neighbours that Pakistan needed to rein in terrorism. China, long-time friend and nuclear ally, for the first time lodged a protest with Pakistan, noting the training that was being given to terrorists on its soil. This evidence had been unearthed after the arrest of 16 Shia Muslims in China. For the first time, China also noted the existence of 1,600 active members of the "Party of Allah" which was said to use heroin for funding terrorism.50 Noticeably, after pleading the porosity of Pakistan's border in regard to the entry of the hijackers, Pakistan was able to do a thorough search and "credibly" inform China that there was no evidence of any such movement or camps in any part of the tribal areas.

On January 16, 2000, the Taliban announced the formal recognition of Chechnya51—a statement that led to a Russian outcry not only against the Taliban but also against Pakistan for its failure to prevent such an outcome. Russia's ire increased as former President of Chechnya Zelim Khan was accorded a huge welcome in Pakistan from the Islamists, even as he appears to have met all the leading policy-makers.52 Following the imposition of sanctions, Russia also noted that over 100 trucks had crossed over from Pakistan with ammunition and weapons for the Taliban units for the spring offensive.53

A curious report at the tail end of the hijacking noted that Saudi Arabia had expressed annoyance that "scores of Arab militants" had been flown out of Peshawar around December 29, 1999, and were sent to Saudi Arabia, according to an Interior Ministry source. These men apparently had fake Afghan passports and had dispersed for unknown reasons.54 Yet another source noted that Egyptian terrorists were carrying fake Pakistani passports.55 Most telling of an apparent "isolation" of Pakistan was the refusal of the Turkish prime minister to visit Pakistan, lambasting the supporters of the Taliban, even as he made a trip to India.

Prior to the visit of the US president, there was a spate of reports from the US which specifically charged Osama Bin Laden and the Harkat-ul-Ansar with supporting the terrorist groups in Kashmir. However, M.R. Sheehan, the chief coordinator on anti-terrorism also noted that the Taliban fondly remembered US assistance in their freedom struggle, "I also believe that they do not want individuals or organisations to plan and conduct terrorist operations from their soil."56 This obviously meant that other powers or individuals were using Afghan territory for their own ends.

Back in Pakistan, Masood Azhar, the militant freed by New Delhi in the hijack incident—after a few days in "protective custody"—was received with fanfare at Banuri Masjid in Karachi. This is one of the many large seminaries that are often overlooked, and it remains one of the largest seminaries of "revolutionary" Deobandi activity, and the main sponsor of Harkat activity, according to Pakistani sources.57 The announcement of the formation of a new party, the "Jaish Mohammad" was made under the aegis of this seminary, led by Mufti Shamzai.58 The mufti is understood to be closely linked to Mullah Omar, and is respected by the various tiers of Taliban leadership. The subsequent declaration of a jehad against the US and India59 only served to confirm India's contention that the "religious scholar" was far from being simply an ideologue.

Plea of Talibanisation

Meanwhile, continuing evidence of Pakistanis being trained in Afghanistan (Isphol camp), with the Harkat ul-Ansar evidently involved at all stages, came to light even as reports of a group leaving for Chechnya surfaced in the Press. Other reports noted that Pakistan had the largest private army of Islamists,60 while yet others noted the "Afghan connection" to Islamic extremism—in particular the activities of the Harkat-ul-Ansar with its training camps in Afghanistan—with the Rishkor camp reportedly "supervised" by the dreaded Pakistani terrorist Riaz Basra (an ex-Mujahideen) and those in Pakistan itself on the Muzzafarabad road, and other areas of POK.61 The trend of these various articles was unmistakable—that the powerful Islamist lobby was slowly trying to seize political power, assisted by a well-armed and trained army. This was the essence of the warning of "Talibanisation" of Pakistan, where the onus was on Kabul for unleashing violent sectarianism on Pakistan. This tied in with the projection of the new regime as one that was against such activities and which condemned "terrorism" even while it supported self-determination. Such ideas were furthered when Qazi Hussain obligingly noted in London that were it not for the army, the Islamists would have been able to seize power.62 That this was completely negated by the admission of prominent jehadis—who should certainly be in the know—was not generally observed. The leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and others were heard to say that Nawaz Sharif's last days had proved to be tough, and that the army's return was, quite literally, an answer to their prayers.63 In fact, he noted that the coming of the army had led to the release of several jailed jehadis who had been imprisoned during the latter period of the Sharif government.

This kind of twin-track policy was apparent in the period prior to the Clinton visit. On the one hand, efforts were made to convince the media and the international community that Pakistan was indeed for taking action against terrorists for the sake of its own security, even as the same jehadi policy that encouraged terrorists in the first place was hardly touched. In fact, the focus of attention was kept continuously on Afghanistan, and the issue of "terrorism" that emanated from there.

Following a further protest by China, General Musharraf announced a surprise visit to Kabul and his decision to talk turkey to Mullah Omar. But this proactive policy has remained on paper as of the time of writing, and the general remained in Pakistan. At another level, a whirl of activity was apparent, with various Arabs being arrested with much fanfare on charges of being suspected Bin Laden aides—and more often than not released later. For instance, the announcement of the arrest of an Egyptian "aide" with over $35,000 and forged passports in his possession was subsequently found to be false.64

Similarly, while Musharraf was reported to have asked a Rabbani-led team in February 2000 to resolve the Osama issue and form a broad based government,65 on the other hand, arms were pouring into Afghanistan from all sides in preparation for an offensive which began with a bloody opening by the Taliban. However, it appeared that strong ISI contingents were not present this time around, nor was there adequate intelligence at the tactical level—an asset that has been invaluable to the Taliban. The ISI, however, appeared to be busy in Pakistan itself, where a series of murders of moderate leaders ensured that no others emerged to challenge the Taliban.66

In the same vein, Foreign Minister Sattar came out strongly against terrorism that emanated from Afghanistan, even as diplomatic moves went on at a frenetic pace to gain acceptability for the Taliban. After consistently refusing to attend (unless recognition was forthcoming), the Taliban was persuaded to take part in Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) sponsored talks in Saudi Arabia. This volte face was obviously aimed at breaking out of the isolation that was beginning to take a toll on Pakistan itself. Sattar also, however, differentiated between terrorism and militancy, noting that militancy was not a crime unless "a person commits an act of terrorism or uses force against an innocent person."67 Right on cue, the targetting policy in Kashmir shifted—with the now heavily foreign dominated jehadi parties targetting the Indian armed forces rather than the beleaguered people. This marked a significant shift in the history of terrorism in the subcontinent.

The Clinton visit itself was seen in diverse ways by different groups with one insisting that Pakistan had received "a slap in the face", while others crowed that it was a loss of face for Indian diplomacy. While the US president—or rather his entourage—made it obvious that the visit was hardly an "endorsement" of the Musharraf regime and the hijacking of democracy, and that the US was unhappy with Islamabad's record of supporting terrorism, there was also a clear decision not to push Pakistan too far on either issue. General Musharraf, in turn, reiterated his concerns on Kashmir, and publicly announced that there were "differences" over the handling of the Taliban issue. A prominent commentator, however, noted that Pakistan "has to deliver, and terrorism holds the key".68

This appeared to be sage advice. Subsequently, the interior minister was quoted by Businessweek as saying that he would tell the Taliban that harbouring Osama was not "worth the price it is paying" in diplomatic and economic isolation. The magazine also quoted Pakistani officials as saying that the bulk of US-Pakistani discussions during the Clinton visit had focussed on counter-terrorism. The fact that the minister, during his visit to Washington, was accompanied by the new ISI chief and Musharraf loyalist General Mahmud was seen as heralding a new agenda. Back in Islamabad, Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider asked Afghanistan to close down all terrorist camps, and extradite sectarian extremists. A clear threat from the minister that the sectarian parties would have to stop or else "we will get them by the neck" appeared to be real enough, as the government continued this by passing strict arms control laws, and weapons collection measures.

The response to this was rather baffling. The Taliban was said to have asked Pakistani groups to close down a string of small camps near Jalalabad, Paktia, Khost and other parts—but reportedly allowed them to relocate to a bigger facility—all this without any outcry from Pakistan. The main camps at Rishkor continued to function, while those within Pakistan were not disturbed at all. The media found these moves equally puzzling. As the courageous Newsline noted,69 on the one hand, Pakistan was apparently concerned about terrorism, while on the other, it did nothing at all to prevent the grand conferences of Maulana Azhar which received considerable publicity—this at a time when the US was specifically asking Pakistan to close down terrorist camps. The argument from the interior minister and the Harkat chief was as before—that terrorism could not be equated with militancy and a freedom struggle.70 Given this interpretation, the Afghan foreign minister was not far off the mark when he said that there were no terrorist camps in his country.


In evaluating Pakistani policy towards Afghanistan, the first question that naturally arises is whether Pakistan has been able to achieve its objectives in Afghanistan and if so at what cost? This would be a barometer of the options before Chief Executive Officer (CEO) General Musharraf and also the possible future options open to Islamabad. Here it is worth reiterating the main objectives of Pakistan:

l Ensure a friendly (pliant) regime in Afghanistan.

l Arising from this, ensure that the Pashtun issue is dealt with once and for all.

l Ensure a smooth trade route into the CARs.

l Propel Pakistan onto the world stage as a leader of the Islamic world, and a moderating influence in the area.

l Ensure that the irregular/jehadi forces of Afghanistan are readily available to Pakistan in the event of a war/limited war/conflict.

Regarding the first objective, it is difficult to envisage a friendlier regime to Pakistan than the Taliban. Ideologically, politically and functionally, it remains almost a part of Pakistan itself. As long as the Taliban continues in its present form, this will carry on with some variations, depending on personal and institutional equations.

The second objective is much more difficult. At present, it is vital that the Taliban controls the whole of Afghanistan. This is not just to consolidate the hold of the group, but also to prevent the reemergence of Pashtun nationalism that could so easily become the country's worst nightmare. The virtual disappearance of the Durand Line, the "tying" of Taliban infrastructure into Pakistan's border areas, especially Peshawar and its environs, and most of all the so-called "Talibanisation" of these bordering areas all point to danger signals of a Taliban that may settle down to an exclusively Pashtun identity. General Musharraf's call for a broad based government—which would naturally see a heavy presence of the Taliban rather than any real power sharing—should be seen in this light.

The third objective remains as yet elusive, though is likely to emerge in the near future. Trade with Central Asia already exists, but this cannot be exploited to the full till peace returns. Moreover, the crux of the trade comprises the offering of an exit route for Central Asian oil and gas, and there is as yet no movement in this direction.

The image of a moderate state that engages with the Taliban and against "fundamentalism" was one that Benazir Bhutto had tried hard to project. As noted above, this image has taken a beating, and recent visits of the CEO to Egypt and Indonesia show that this state of affairs continues.

The last objective has to an extent been successfully achieved. The presence of thousands of jehadis gives the Pakistan Army a deniable and extremely cheap source of power projection. As scholars have noted,71 the use of irregulars in the Pakistan Army has been consistent, and at present is unlikely to be given up—unless Pakistan decides to completely overturn its long-time strategy in both Afghanistan and Kashmir. In fact, so important is this policy to the Pakistani elite, that it was in part responsible for the imprisonment of a prime minister who was alleged to have tried to distance Pakistan from the Taliban,72 and from the jehad into Kashmir as well.

The Costs: Talibanisation

This is directly related to the perceived threat of Talibanisation that is seen to be the one of the main costs that Pakistan has had to bear. Here it is worth viewing "Talibanisation" in its proper perspective. The Taliban movement is essentially a national one, though its professed ideology—what there is of it—aims at sheltering and providing sustenance to Muslims everywhere. In reality, the Taliban is pretty much engaged in stabilising its own land rather than fighting elsewhere. Thus, Taliban leaders have indignantly denied that any of their cadres were present in Kargil—a fact which cannot be completely refuted. Neither are there any "Taliban" in Central Asia or anywhere else, though the ideology is undeniably one that is being used by a wide variety of actors, including drugs traffickers who support "fundamentalist" groups for their own ends. This ideology is also being used by the Pakistan Army to attain its objective against India, and justify its "moral" intervention in Kashmir. Therefore, much of the "Talibanisation" is by the Pakistanis themselves due to policies followed by successive governments in both appeasing the radicals, and pursuing a foreign policy that is based solely on the waging of jehad (which is Paki-speak for covert war). This explains why Pakistan is the worst hit in seeing this phenomenon of the energising of the religious right. Thus, "Talibanisation" is a Pakistani creation, just as the Taliban itself was a Pakistani creation. In short, Pakistan has to first put its own house in order, and change the way it wants to deal with its neighbours. The Taliban has little to do with it.

Yet US decision-makers—who should know better—decided to adopt the "danger of Talibanisation" line. In January 2000, Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbott and Under Secretary Karl Inderfurth were warning of "Talibanisation", noting that "with the emergence of the Taliban, there is growing reason to fear that militant extremism, obscurantism, and sectarian will affect surrounding countries". Interestingly, however, other sources also noted—in line with later US pronouncements—that there were "wheels within wheels…which continued to have truck with Osama, besides rendering valuable material support to the Taliban." Other sources were quoted as saying, "There is a vast network in your (Pakistani) intelligence community which does not listen to any government and which operates on its own. It is definitely happening in the case of the Taliban and Osama as well..."73 Later, after the massacre of Sikhs in Kashmir, President Clinton echoed the same perceptions when he noted that "elements" in the Pakistani government were backing the violence in Kashmir.74

The Costs: Runaway "Elements"?

While at one point there was a period when the ISI was almost a free-wheeling body that dominated all other like institutions, today it appears to be under the firm control of the CEO or his loyalists. However, it is true that many within the army and its intelligence arm have grown to like the vast power that covert war brings. The huge apparatus that sends war material to the front, the internal power that arises from the influencing of the Islamists and their private armies, the financial power that comes with drugs trafficking, the institutional power that arises from the coming together of all these factors—all these are not easily given up. The greater danger to Pakistan, and indeed to the region, is the privatisation of the covert war by the most powerful institution in the country—the Pakistan Army. This at one stroke provides the greatest resistance to peace initiatives from any side, and the single element that provides the impetus to continuing instability.

The Future: Dealing with the Taliban

As noted above, the CEO is under pressure—both from factors within and without—to rein in and close once and for all the Taliban adventure. The need to bring the war to an end on Pakistan's terms has already been discussed. However, pending that, the question of "influencing" the Taliban, and stemming the rot within his own country remains.

This raises the question of what influence can be brought to bear. This paper referred to the roots of the Taliban, and its present structure which is divided into many layers, each with its own motivations. Within this, as noted, there are groups that are closely allied to Pakistani groups, as well as institutions. Thus, these groups/institutions can play a considerable part in influencing the direction of Taliban policy. Nearly all of these groups/institutions—the transport mafia, the drugs mafia, and the Islamists—once functioned under the patronage of the military during the long years of Soviet occupation. Today, each has a measure of independence, yet all have to play the game under the rules drawn up by the military or its institutions.

At a more prosaic and easily understood level, it may be argued that the intelligence has only to cut off weapons aid to bring the Taliban offensive to a grinding halt. So the fact remains that there are many strings Islamabad can pull to ensure that the Taliban continue to heed its "advice".

But here Pakistani policy is somewhat in a bind. Pakistani policy presumes that if Islamabad cuts off aid, other neighbours like Iran would be only too happy to oblige. At one level, while it is true that the Taliban—due to its ties, bonding and the past—follows the dictates of Pakistani agencies, it is bound to become adept at avoiding a degree of vulnerability by turning ostentatiously—as it did in early 2000—to other sources of sustenance. At another level, Iranian or other assistance would in the end mean the virtual "disinventing" of the Taliban in its present form, which means twenty years of Pakistani effort going down the drain. This is the Pakistan fear.

But there is an important caveat: while outside sources may offer some help, few—and certainly not Central Asia or Iran—can afford to prop up virtually an entire country and feed a dangerously indisciplined "armed force" for even a few years. Neither can Pakistan—which means that Islamabad and the Taliban are still getting their "aid" from diverse sources. The French believe that the US still has a hand here, while the Saudis continue to play the "front office".

There is an other important caveat here. Note that the US evinces no particular enmity towards the Taliban and never has. It was one of the first countries to move towards an implicit endorsement of the regime, and at present continues to have channels of communication with it. What it objects to are the sheltering of Osama and the terrorist camps that function under some "outside" control.

Dealing with Terrorist Camps

The question that is of interest, then, is—just who controls the Afghan terrorist camps? For this, it is necessary to note that many of these camps date back to the Mujahideen days, when they were used as bases to launch attacks. In the initial years especially, the main training camps were in Pakistan, not in Afghanistan. By the mid-1990s, however, as US policy veered towards serious counter-terrorism, and the emergence of various terrorists—like Ramzi Youseff of the World Trade Centre bombing and Aimal Kansi who killed the CIA officers at Langley—from Pakistani territory persuaded Pakistan to move many of these camps to just across the border. Control remained in the hands of the ISI as well as sections within the Frontier Corps.

After 1993-94, therefore, the running of these groups like the Harkat-ul-Ansar, Lashkar-e-Taiba and others, was handed over to the large seminaries—which being inside Pakistan were within the control of the state. These large outfits owe their land, patronage and power—and, more importantly, their weapons—either directly to the state or to state indulgence. Recall that the land at Muridke was donated by General Zia, that the JUI (Fazlur) received considerable land and money from Benazir Bhutto, and that the annual conventions of the Markaz Da'wat ul Ershad were regularly attended by the prime minister and his entourage. Recall also that the last Markaz meet was immediately after Kargil—and no impediment of any kind was put on this meeting by the new army regime. Note also the relief of the jehadis at the removal of Nawaz Sharif.

Today, the terrorist camps in Afghanistan do produce jehadis for the front. Where these are Afghans, they usually stay within their own country, or perish in the war, or return home. A few do move out in search of profit—but these are the individuals who are affiliated to the Pakistani-controlled Harkat and others. The largest numbers of terrorists are Pakistanis, followed by the Arab contingent. They are the jehadis but at other times they are also the terrorists who feed on Pakistani society itself. These former fighters stay on to be used as mercenaries by agencies for their own ends. Undoubtedly, the camps near Kabul as well as the "offices" of Uzbek or Tajik resistance are allowed by the Taliban—which are reflections of its own interests in dealing with the hostility of these neighbours (a ploy that has worked by pushing these regimes into opening "talks" with the Taliban). But the Taliban is not on a "jehadi spree". As noted earlier, firstly, it has enough on its plate to keep it occupied, and secondly, its brand of Pashtun, tribal, and extremist ideology cannot easily be transplanted to other societies—however "fundamentalist". The camps are not vital to Taliban policy—they are, however, completely central to Pakistani policy.

The bottom line, therefore, appears to be that the thrust of Pakistani policy in Afghanistan is tied surely to the objectives and nature of not only the Pakistan government itself, but also the ties within it. Pakistanis have to learn to change the way they deal with their neighbours, for as long as covert war continues, the CEO may not be able to control either his own backyard or the fallout from these adventures. Stability for the new regime can only flow from its own ability to control institutions like the intelligence or non-state bodies like the Harkat. The intelligence draws its power from covert war, as do the Islamist parties and their creatures who benefit from it. To control Pakistan, General Musharraf has to do one simple thing—he has to turn off the tap that funds and backs the jehad policy. Anything else can only be a sop to history. At present that is all that is visible.



1. The involvement of the CIA appears to be supported by the accounts of Zbigniew Brezinski, who as national security advisor was urging more "sympathetic" treatment of the Afghans in early 1980. Zbigniew Brezinzski, Power and Principle (London: Weidenfeld and Goldwin, 1983) p. 420.

2. Robert G. Wirsing, Pakistan's Security Under Zia, 1977-88 (London: Macmillan, 1991) p. 30.

3. Ibid. Also see Christina Lamb, Waiting for Allah (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1991).

4. Edward Girardet, Afghanistan: The Soviet War (New York: St Martin's Press, 1985) p. 166.

5. This figure includes equal infusions of Saudi aid. Barnett Rubin, The Fragmentation of Afghanistan (Yale University, 1995) p. 30.

6. As noted to Pamela Constable by Deputy Director of the ISI, General Ghulam Ahmed, Washington Post (Washington), February 15, 2000.

7. In September 1998, Nasirullah Babbar was quoted as saying that he had indeed been responsible for patronising the group, The Times of India, September 8, 1998.

8. This is noted by Mushahid Hussain in The Nation, December 17, 1989.

9. Defence Journal, vol. XVI, nos. 4-5, 1990.

10. For a description of Pakistani assistance to the Taliban, see William Maley ed., Fundamentalism Reborn?: Afghanistan and the Taliban (London: Hurst, 1998).

11. Anthony Davis, "One Man's Holy War", Asiaweek, August 6, 1999, p. 22.

12. Lakhdar Brahmi quoted in Dawn, July 31, 1999.

13. He reportedly made these points on a Voice of America broadcast on May 14, The News, May 15, 1999.

14. Qatari TV, Al Jazeerah, quoted by The News, August 10, 1999.

15. Editorial in The News, October 11, 1999. Also see "JUI to Hit Washington DC Within 8 hours", The News (Internet Version), August 10, 1999.

16. This report notes that Pakistani scholars were not asked to go. Rahimullah Yusufzai, "NWFP Schools Close as Afghan Students Reinforce Taliban", The News (Internet version) August 10, 1999.

17. AFP Report "Taliban Receiving Reinforcements From Pakistan", in FBIS-NES-1999-0814 (Internet version).

18. This delegation was led by Additional Secretary Rustom Shah Mohmand. See, for a report, Dawn, August 25, 1999.

19. The News, October 1, 1999.

20. Frontier Post, September 25, 1999.

21. Marianna Babbar quoting ANP's Bashir Mattha who raised the issue in the Senate, The News, August 14, 1999.

22. "ISI Chief in Routine Business with the CIA", Dawn, September 22, 1999.

23. Kamran Khan, News Intelligence Unit, "Pakistan Government to Confront Militant Outfits", The News, October 8, 1999.

24. "Taliban Asked to Shut Down Terrorist Training Camps," The News, October 8, 1999.

25. "Pakistan Plea to Taliban Reflects Paradigm Shift," The News, October 8, 1999.

26. Khan, n. 15.

27. Pakistani Foreign Ministry sources quoted in The News, (Internet version) October 9, 1999.

28. Sartaj Aziz quoted in The News, October 12, 1999.

29. "Taliban Leader Ready for Talks on Terrorism" AFP in FBIS-NES-1999-1011.

30. n. 15.

31. The News, October 28, 1999.

32. This was reported by Frontier Post, October 10, 1999.

33. The tendency to rely on irregulars can be gleaned from even a cursory study of the Indo-Pakistani Wars. See also Stephen P. Cohen, The Pakistani Army (New Delhi: Himalayan Books, 1984).

34. This is noted by B. Raman, "General Musharraf: Past and Present", Institute of Topical Studies, Chennai.

35. Quoted by Brig (retd.) A.R. Siddiqi in The Nation, January 31, 1999.

36. As brought out in Para 13 of Resolution 1214 (1998).

37. Text of Resolution, October 15, 1999, US Department of State, International Information Programmes, <>

38. The Nation, November 10, 1999.

39. "Explosions Rock Islamabad", China Daily, November 13, 1999.

40. Aziz Haniffa, "Pallone Accuses Pak of Complicity in Embassy Bombing" IANS report in Economic Times, November 21, 1999.

41. Lt. General Javed Nasir, "The Islamabad Blasts", The Nation, November 22, 1999.

42. Dawn, November 19, 1999.

43. Flour was selling for Rs. 30 a kg in Afghanistan compared to Rs. 9 in government shops in Pakistan, Dawn, November 22, 1999.

44. Ahmed Rashid, "Afghanistan: Re-Writing the Rules of the Great Game", The News, November 16-19, 1999.

45. Quoted in Dawn, December 12, 1999.

46. Comments and Taliban reactions on the statement, Frontier Post, December 1, 1999.

47. This pressuring is noted by Rahimullah Yusufzai who, however, also notes that the Taliban also pressurised the hijackers. "The Day of The Taliban", The News, January 4, 2000.

48. Mullah Ahmad Jan Ahmadi quoted in The News, December 29, 1999.

49. Washington Post, December 30, 1999.

50. "China Protests to Pakistan Against Training of Terrorists", Frontier Post, January 7, 2000.

51. The News, February 17, 2000.

52. Interestingly, many public seminars addressed by Zelim Khan were also attended by religious representatives from other countries like Naib Amir Ghafoor Ahmed of the Jamaat Islami of Sri Lanka, Frontier Post, February 24, 2000.

53. "Moscow Denounces Pakistani Aid to Taliban", Moscow Interfax, February 29, 2000, in FBIS-SOV-2000-0229.

54. "Saudi Arabia Annoyed at Safe Passage to Militants", Frontier Post, December 30, 1999.

55. "Terrorists in Egypt Using Fake Pakistani Passports", The News, May 6, 1999.

56. Sheehan speaking at Brookings. Quoted by Afzal Khan, "US Charges Osama with Supporting Kashmiris' Struggle," The Nation, February 13, 2000.

57. This seminary is cited as having been set up in 1947 by Allama Yusuf Banuri. This was also the place where Mullah Omar first met Osama bin Laden in 1989. The man heading the great Deobandi jehad is named as Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai in whose name funds are collected for the Harkat-ul-Ansar. The mufti is also cited as the author of the jehad against the US. Khaled Ahmed "In Crisis Only Hawks Will Talk," Friday Times, February 21-27, 2000.

58. Dawn, February 5, 2000.

59. Owais Tohid, "Azhar calls for Jihad Against India First, Then US," AFP, January 6, 2000 in FBIS-NES-2000-0105.

60. See for an excellent report, Arif Jamal, "Biggest Private Army of Islamists in Pakistan", The News, February 20, 2000.

61. This article notes the existence of over a dozen training camps run by the Al-Badr, Hizbul Mujahiden, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen and the Harkat-ul Jehad Islami in Hazara, Azad Kashmir, Northern Areas, and Afghanistan. However, the "dozen" reported is likely to include only the ones alongside the Indian border and in the Hazaras. M. Ilyas Khan, "Islamic Extremism—The Afghan Connection", The Herald, January 2000.

62. Qazi Hussain speaking at Manchester, The News, April 5, 2000.

63. A few weeks before the military coup, the police arrested more than 500 supporters of four major groups waging jehad against India in Kashmir and raided their offices in various cities. "In several cities, including Lahore, our offices were raided and rumours were rife that the government planned to ban our annual gathering," Abdullah Muntazir spokesman for the Laskhar-e-Taiba, quoted in The News, February 20, 2000.

64. The News, April 11, 2000.

65. Frontier Post, February 2, 2000.

66. These included Abdul Haq (January 12), Abdul Ahad Karzai (July 15) and others who supported the return of King Zahir Shah.

67. Quoted in The News, February 12, 2000.

68. Ahmed Rashid quoted in Andrew Hull, "US Wants Pakistan to Fulfil its Pledges", in Dawn, (Internet edition) March 27, 2000.

69. Ismail Khan, "Terrorists or Crusaders? Newsline, February 2000.

70. Ibid.

71. See Cohen, n. 33. For a discussion of this aspect, see Tara Kartha, "The Mujahideen in Pakistan's Covert War Strategy" in Jasjit Singh, ed., Kargil 1999: Pakistan's Fourth War for Kashmir (New Delhi: IDSA, Knowledge World, October 1999).

72. This is alleged by Nawaz Sharif, as well as pointed out by Kamran Khan, "Report Details Sharif-Military Differences", The News, October 13, 1999, p. 1, 10.

73. This was reported by Dawn, January 23, 2000.

74. "Clinton Blames 'Elements' in Pakistan Government for Violence", Dawn, March 23, 2000.