Paks Rumbling with Afghan Rebels?


Here's a little tid bit on the cutting room floor from last week's interview with the Pentagon's policy chief, Eric Edelman.

The other day I got an email from a source of mine who claimed some of his buddies working in the private security industry in Pakistan and Afghanistan told him Pakistani intelligence officers have been found in "non life-supporting postures" after skirmishes or air strikes on insurgents in Afghanistan.

In other words, elements within Pakistan's ISI are directly aiding anti-coalition forces in Afghanistan -- sometimes engaging in combat operations with them.

I asked Edelman what the deal's a brief transcript of how that conversation went:

Defense Tech: In Afghanistan, have you seen any evidence of Pakistani agencies' involvement in assisting the Taliban and other parties within Afghanistan against US troops and also within the [federally administered tribal areas]?

Edelman: I think that, you know, there's a long history here. The Pakistan government for a very long time has regarded Afghanistan as its 'strategic depth' and clearly there have been relationships that go back to the Mujahaddin era that have persisted. We've had some concerns about it, we've expressed those concerns. We had a meeting with the head of ISI, general Pasha ... my view is we ought to give him a chance to see how he can handle his new responsibilities and go from there.

Defense Tech: So is that a 'yes?'

Edelman: You'll have to make a judgment on whether that was a yes or not.

Defense Tech: So you have seen involvement...?

Edelman: As I said there have been persistent ties that have withstood over a long period of time and we've expressed concerns over those ties.

Sounds to me like a yes...What do you all think?

-- Christian

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