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The Secret War: How a 2012 documentary revealed Pakistan was supporting Taliban and American soldiers knew it

The documentary showed that the Taliban leaders, who had fled Afghanistan in the aftermath of the US invasion, moved freely inside Pakistan. The commander told them how dependent the Taliban was for a sanctuary in Pakistan to continue their war across the border.

A documentary released in 2012, almost a decade before the fall of Kabul to resurgent Taliban, shed light on the double-dealing of the entities that identified themselves as the allies of the United States but were covertly working to undermine its mission in Afghanistan. Titles ‘The Secret War’, it details how the United States was fighting a losing battle in Afghanistan all these years.

Following the twin tower attacks in September 2001, the United States had invaded Afghanistan and toppled the then Taliban regime from power, in a bid to locate Osama Bin Laden and obliterate the terror network of his organisation, Al Qaeda. Almost 10 years later, Osama Bin Laden was killed in a secret operation carried out by the Special US Forces after his location was traced to a nondescript compound in the backwater town of Abbottabad, Pakistan.

While many imagined that the US would soon end its war in Afghanistan, especially after the elimination of Osama Bin Laden, the American forces on the ground knew the war was far from being over. Against this background, journalists Martin Smith and Stephen Grey of the Frontline visited Pakistan in 2011 to understand the dynamics that were at play in America’s war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The documentary, titled ‘The Secret War’, which was released later, was a culmination of the six-month investigation carried out by Smith and Stephen Grey and provided a window into interminably long-drawn-out war the United States had waged against Islamic terror outfits such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

US soldiers were unhappy about Pakistan’s support to Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists

During the investigation, Smith and Grey found that the American soldiers stationed along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border were unhappy with the latter, for their covert support to the insurgency and terrorism targeted against the United States. One of the US troops, who wished to remain anonymous, confided to the reporters that the ground soldiers manning the border reportedly complained to the seniors about the Pakistani complicity in helping the Talibani and Al Qaeda terrorists cross the border and infiltrate into Afghanistan.

“It could be turning a blind eye as the insurgents launched rockets from Pakistan to the US bases located across the border. It could also be allowing passage to the terrorists, right under their noses, to safely cross the border into Afghanistan. It could be providing insurgents with vital information such as details of our patrol or the Afghan army’s patrol along the border. It was complicity on their part, said Maj Michael Waltz, US Army Forces Reserves, while speaking about Pakistan’s treachery in propping up Al Qaeda and the Taliban terrorists against the United States.

The documentary showed that the Taliban leaders, who had fled Afghanistan in the aftermath of the US invasion, moved freely inside Pakistan. The two journalists met a Taliban commander in the outskirts of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The commander told them how dependent the Taliban was for a sanctuary in Pakistan to continue their war across the border.

“Across the border, our life is very difficult now. But the Pakistanis are helping us,” the Taliban commander told the Frontline scribes. “Pakistan is our nation. They are our people. They help us and support us. They are on our side. Our war is in Afghanistan, and our operations are continuing. But it is not necessary to endanger our lives and live there.”

Pakistan claimed to support the USA, but provided help to its enemies openly

New Yorker journalist Dexter Filkins had called Pakistan a duplicitous country, one that claims to be an ally of the United States but is also known for extending support to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and even to the Haqqani network, one of the deadliest terror organisations operating in Afghanistan.

Amrullah Saleh, the former vice president of Afghanistan, was also interviewed as a part of the documentary to probe Pakistan’s role in supporting the Taliban. Saleh had then concurred with the intelligence assessment that the resilience of the Taliban and its ally, Haqqani Network, in mounting attacks against the US forces in Afghanistan could be attributed to the support they receive from Pakistani intelligence agency ISI.

“ISI knows that they are operating from Pakistani soil to undermine America’s objectives in the region and the ISI is happy that they are doing it because through them(Haqqani network and the Taliban), Pakistan promotes their policy in Afghanistan,” said Saleh, who worked as the Afghan Intelligence Head from 2004 to 2010 before taking a plunge into politics.

Pakistan helped the Taliban in their offensive in Panjshir valley: Reports

Nine years after the documentary was released accusing Pakistan of being in cahoots with the Taliban, Islamabad helped the terror outfit in their fight against the resistance movement led by Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh in the Panjshir Valley.

The last bastion of resistance forces in Afghanistan- Panjshir came under heavy fire on Sunday, September 6. The former Samangan MP Zia Arianjad in a quote to Aamaj News informed that the province was bombed by Pakistani Air Force drones. 

Even now, the ministers and officials of Pakistan are seen openly flaunting their support and help to the Taliban. ISI chief Faiz Hameed had flown to Kabul to meet Taliban leaders just days before the attack on Panjshir.

Several news agencies reported that the Taliban got help from the Pakistani army in their fight against the resistance forces. According to sources close to the resistance forces, Pakistan provided air support to the Taliban in their campaign to lay control of the Panjshir Valley. It is reported to have airdropped special forces to fight along with the Taliban against the resistance forces. 

 

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Jinit Jain
Engineer. Writer. Learner.

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