Study claims strong ties between Pakistan’s ISI and Taliban

LONDON, June 13, 2010 (AFP) – Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency provides funding, training and sanctuary to the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to a study Sunday which claimed to have the strongest evidence yet of their links.

However the report for the London School of Economics (LSE) was dismissed by the Pakistani military as “malicious and baseless”.

The LSE study, based on interviews with nine Taliban field commanders in Afghanistan between February and May this year, claims their relationship goes far beyond what is currently believed.

“Although the Taliban has a strong endogenous impetus, according to Taliban commanders the ISI orchestrates, sustains and strongly influences the movement,” wrote author Matt Waldman, a fellow at Harvard University.

“They say it gives sanctuary to both Taliban and Haqqani groups, and provides huge support in terms of training, funding, munitions, and supplies. In their words, this is ‘as clear as the sun in the sky’.”

Waldman said the ISI appears to exert “significant influence” on strategic decision-making and field operations of the Taliban and controls the most violent insurgent units, some of which appear to be based in Pakistan.

Insurgent commanders claime