Pak aid to Taliban

LA Times:

Telephone and power lines haven't reached the villages clinging to the craggy mountainsides of Kunar province. Digital phones and computer chips are even further beyond the shepherds' imaginations.

So when sophisticated bombs detonated by long-range cordless phones began blowing up under U.S. and Afghan military vehicles on mountain tracks, investigators knew they had to search elsewhere for the masterminds.

Afghan officials immediately focused on nearby Pakistan and its military, whose Inter-Services Intelligence agency helped create the Taliban in the early 1990s and provided training and equipment to help the Muslim extremists win control over most of the country.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf joined the Bush administration's war on terrorism and publicly turned against the Taliban immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. But Afghan officials allege that Taliban and allied fighters who fled to Pakistan after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 are learning new, more lethal tactics from the Pakistani military at numerous training bases.

"Pakistan is lying," said Lt. Sayed Anwar, acting head of Afghanistan's counter-terrorism department. "We have very correct reports from their areas. We have our intelligence agents inside Pakistan's border as well.

"If Pakistan tells the truth, the problems will stop in Afghanistan. They say they are friends of Americans, and yet they order these people to kill Americans."

At least 38 U.S. troops have died from hostile fire in Afghanistan this year, higher than the annual combat death toll for any year since the invasion.


Pakistani Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, a military spokesman, said it was ridiculous to suggest that Pakistan had a secret operation to train insurgents to build complex electronic bombs.

"This is just a figment of some absurd mind, nothing else," Sultan said.

High-tech bombs similar to those being found in Afghanistan have killed Pakistani soldiers too, he said. More than 250 Pakistani troops have died in border operations in the last year, Sultan said.

"We haven't found any sanctuary, so far, where such items probably could be made," he said, adding that Pakistan's military didn't know where the sophisticated bomb-making technology was coming from.

Anwar, the Afghan official, who has worked in intelligence for 27 years, acknowledged that there was no smoking gun linking insurgents in Afghanistan to Pakistan's military intelligence.

Yet despite the Pakistani military's assertions, increasing numbers of guerrillas are crossing into eastern and southern Afghanistan, Anwar and other Afghan officials said.

"Last year, the enemy wasn't able to attack our checkpoints or plant so many mines," Anwar said. "This year, they have become very strong."
There is much more in this lengthy story about assistance from someone in Pakistan. The Paks have to get control of this situation, soon. The UK bombing connection and the sophisticated bombing in Afghanistan all point back to Pakistan as the center of gravity for al Qaeda activity. The Paks are going to have to finally take over the tribal regions. It is time for them to ask for and get the help of the US in destroying al Qaeda's base fo operations for world wide terror.

Update: Alissa Ayres at Opinion Journal raises more questions about Pakistan:

Soon after London's July 7 subway and bus bombings, investigators discovered that three of the suicide terrorists were children of Pakistani immigrants and had traveled recently to Pakistan. Two may have attended a militant training camp there.

The problem isn't only Britain's. In the U.S. last month, a father and his son--both U.S. citizens of Pakistani descent--were arrested in California, technically on charges of having lied to the FBI. The indictment declares that the son, contrary to his claims, received jihad training at an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan in 2003 and 2004. The camp's training methods apparently involved target practice with photographs of President Bush, and the U.S. featured prominently in a menu of countries from which the trainees could select a jihad of their choice.

In the U.S., no less than in Britain, the pressing question is whether such Islamist extremists belong to a larger network of citizen sleeper-cells. But behind that question lies another: What is Pakistan's part in this dystopian tale? That a major non-NATO ally seemed to harbor an al Qaeda training camp as recently as 2004 should be cause for alarm.

I think Pakistan's government does not have a good handle on the al Qaeda threat. While they are claiming to have crushed al Qaeda, there is clear evidence that the terrorist are using Pakistan as their main base of operations.


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