News / Asia

Pakistan Dismisses Allegations of Afghan Taliban Support

Afghan Taliban militants (File)
Afghan Taliban militants (File)

Pakistan has dismissed a leaked NATO report that accuses it of secretly assisting the Taliban.

According to the classified report, Pakistan's military intelligence agency, the ISI, is supporting the Afghan Taliban, and the insurgents believe victory is inevitable once NATO troops leave in 2014.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry called the report's findings "frivolous" and said Islamabad is committed to "non-interference" in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said the report can be disregarded as what she called "a potentially strategic leak," and that the information in it is not new.  

The leaked document reportedly was compiled from information learned in the interrogations of 4,000 captured Taliban and al-Qaida operatives.

A NATO spokesman said the report was a collection of opinions of Taliban detainees, not an analysis of the war's progress. He also rejected the assertion the Taliban was winning the war, now in its 11th year.   

The report was leaked by Britain's Times newspaper and the BBC as Foreign Minister Khar was in Kabul for talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

During Wednesday's meeting, Karzai said insecurity in Afghanistan and Pakistan has inflicted great harm on both countries and has held them back in their efforts toward peace.  Khar said Pakistan stands behind the Afghan government in its quest for peace.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been tense, as Afghan officials have accused militants from Pakistan of fomenting violence in Afghanistan and disrupting the peace process there.

On Wednesday, the Afghan Taliban denied reports it was opening peace talks with Afghan government officials in Saudi Arabia.  

Afghan officials had suggested that such a dialogue would take place separately from reported peace efforts in Qatar between the United States and the Taliban.

The insurgent group has repeatedly refused to deal with Karzai's government, calling it a "puppet regime."

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Wednesday that the group would not be sending a delegation to Saudi Arabia for talks with representatives of the Karzai government.  

The spokesman also said that the Taliban had not yet started negotiations with U.S. officials in Qatar and that there must be a "trust-building phase" before talks could begin.

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