Pakistani links to Haqqani militants again under spotlight
The revelation that the Haqqani network may be behind the deadly CIA bombing throws the spotlight back on to Pakistan’s connivance with militants operating on its soil.
Pakistan has refused to make any moves against the Haqqanis, who control one of the most powerful Taleban groups fighting in Afghanistan. The Pakistani military has long been in league with such groups to help to guard its interests in Afghanistan against Indian influence. In 2008 the Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani was caught on CIA intercepts referring to the Taleban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani as a strategic asset and tipping off his men about a raid.
Haqqani was one of the Mujahidin favoured with millions of dollars of weapons to fight the Soviet Union. He and the CIA are now bitter enemies after the agency killed scores of his people with drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal belt. Official Pakistani support for the Haqqanis goes from top to bottom as Tahir Ludin, the Afghan reporter of The Times, found when he was kidnapped by the group last year along with the New York Times reporter David Rohde. Crossing into Pakistan in a Haqqani convoy bristling with arms, Mr Ludin saw Pakistani border guards accept 4,000 rupees and salute their captors through. Mr Rohde later recounted how a senior commander, Badruddin Haqqani, transported them through the tribal belt under the noses of the Pakistani military.
“He explained that under a ceasefire agreement all civilians were required to get out of their cars when an army convoy approached. For Taleban vehicles, though, only the driver had to get out,” Mr Rohde wrote. “The practice allowed the Taleban to hide kidnapping victims and foreign militants from the Pakistani Army.” While they were captive, fighting broke out between the military and the so-called Pakistani Taleban, who are fighting to overthrow the Government. But Pakistan still refused to tackle the Haqqanis. When Mr Ludin and Mr Rohde escaped and sought refuge at a Pakistani border post, they said they had been prisoners of the Pakistani Taleban, not the Haqqanis. “If I had told them that, they would have sent us back,” Mr Rohde said.
Source: The Times
January 7, 2010