THE US military’s top officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, has accused Pakistan’s spy agency of having links with Taleban fighters who are targeting US forces.
Mullen says that the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has a ‘long-standing relationship’ with the Afghan insurgent Jalaluddin Haqqani.
He made his comments during talks in the Pakistani city of Islamabad last Wednesday with Pakistani political, military and intelligence leaders.
Mullen went further and informed the Dawn newspaper that ‘Haqqani is supporting, funding, training fighters that are killing Americans and killing coalition partners. And I have a sacred obligation to do all I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.’
The response of the Pakistani intelligence service is to insist that while the ISI did assist Taleban fighters in the 1980s and 1990s, they have since lost any control over them.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir is scheduled to hold talks with US State Department officials in Washington.
Recent reports, following a meeting between the heads of the countries’ spy agencies in Washington, suggested that Pakistan had demanded certain restrictions to the CIA’s activities in Pakistan.
Anti-US feeling has also been exacerbated by the US drone unmanned plane strikes targeting militants in the north-west of the country on a daily basis but killing hundreds of Pakistanis in the process.
These US drone attacks have escalated in north-west Pakistan since the election of President Barack Obama, and they have taken place without advance notice to the Pakistani military and government, out of fear that the targets will be tipped off.
The timing of Mullen’s remarks show that the US is stepping up pressure on Pakistan to relinquish any links with Afghan militants ahead of the US forces’ impending withdrawal from Afghanistan, when these forces will have representatives in a coalition regime.
In fact, the US and its Pakistan allies are rivals, and are uneasy allies, as far as influence over the Taleban is concerned.
The Pakistani-US relationship began with their decision to jointly organise the Afghan opposition to the Pro-Russian Najibollah regime in Afghanistan from the mid 1970s.
Not just current Taleban leaders but figures such as Osama bin Laden were US-Pakistani-CIA clients, and were funded and armed to help drive the Red Army and the Najibollah regime out of Afghanistan.
Pakistan continued to support the Taleban government but was made to choose sides after September 11, 2001 when bin Laden’s men flew a plane into the Twin Towers, after he fell out with the US.
After the Taleban government of Afghanistan was removed, Pakistan continued to maintain its links with Taleban leader Mullah Omar and his fighters, as well as its alliance with the US, while the US forgot all about the struggle to capture bin Laden.
The US also turned a blind eye to the means that Pakistan had used to acquire nuclear weapons and its attempts to sell such weapons to regimes throughout the Middle East and South Asia. It attempted to sell a nuclear device to Saddam Hussein, but the latter refused to deal.
Now, when the US is ready to quit Afghanistan, it does not want Pakistan to control the Taleban wing of the future Afghan coalition government.
This is what the current quarrel is about.
There is not an ounce of principle involved, just bourgeois calculations and bourgeois interests over whether the US or Pakistani bourgeoisie is to have the upper hand as far as Afghanistan is concerned.
The News Line stands for the victory of the Taleban in Afghanistan and for the defeat of imperialism and its regional helpers. This defeat will prepare the way for the socialist revolution in Pakistan, and throughout the Indian sub-continent.