Pakistani military still cultivates militant groups, a former fighter says

The New York Times reports:

The Pakistani military continues to nurture a broad range of militant groups as part of a three-decade strategy of using proxies against its neighbors and American forces in Afghanistan, but now some of the fighters it trained are questioning that strategy, a prominent former militant commander says.

The former commander said that he was supported by the Pakistani military for 15 years as a fighter, leader and trainer of insurgents until he quit a few years ago. Well known in militant circles but accustomed to a covert existence, he gave an interview to The New York Times on the condition that his name, location and other personal details not be revealed.

Militant groups, like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen and Hizbul Mujahedeen, are run by religious leaders, with the Pakistani military providing training, strategic planning and protection. That system was still functioning, he said.

The former commander’s account belies years of assurances by Pakistan to American officials since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that it has ceased supporting militant groups in its territory. The United States has given Pakistan more than $20 billion in aid over the past decade for its help with counterterrorism operations. Still, the former commander said, Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment has not abandoned its policy of supporting the militant groups as tools in Pakistan’s dispute with India over the border territory of Kashmir and in Afghanistan to drive out American and NATO forces.

“There are two bodies running these affairs: mullahs and retired generals,” he said. He named a number of former military officials involved in the program, including former chiefs of the intelligence service and other former generals. “These people have a very big role still,” he said.

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1 thought on “Pakistani military still cultivates militant groups, a former fighter says

  1. Colm O' Toole

    The 3 groups the New York Times accuses Pakistan of cultivating, all deal with the Kashmir side of the conflict as opposed to the Taliban side in Afghanistan/Pakistan. Also the 3 groups wikipedia pages all claim that they have a history of ISI support so it appears the NYT is reporting on news thats widely known already.

    The former commander said that he was supported by the Pakistani military for 15 years as a fighter, leader and trainer of insurgents until he quit a few years ago. Well known in militant circles but accustomed to a covert existence, he gave an interview to The New York Times on the condition that his name, location and other personal details not be revealed.

    Random Speculation: Fazlur Rehman Khalil, was commander of the Harakat-ul-Mujahideen (mentioned in article) from 1985 when the group was formed until Feb 2000 when he retired matching the 15 years claim. Also his group has ties to ISI. Also Fazlur Khalil gave an interview to Pakistans Dawn newspaper only 3 weeks ago June 16th so he could be doing a media campaign that included this one with New York Times.

    Link to Dawn article about him: http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/16/terror-leader-lives-freely-near-pakistani-capital.html

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