London, July 16 : Declassified US intelligence and State Department documents have revealed that Pakistan gave substantial military support to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, when it was in power between 1996 and 2001.
Islamabad, however, has rubbished this claim, saying that it only provided diplomatic and economic assistance in the years leading upto 9/11.
According to The News, among the documents acquired by the National Security Archive, an independent group pressing for government transparency, is a confidential memo sent in November 1996, from intelligence report from Islamabad to the Defence Intelligence Agency in Washington, describing how Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Corps was operating across the border.
"The documents illustrate that throughout the 1990's the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) considered Islamic extremists to be foreign policy assets," Barbara Elias.
No one was available for comment at the Pakistan embassy in London. Privately, Pakistani officials concede that the ISI was instrumental in turning the Taliban into an organised force before 2001, but claim that the committed Islamists in the ISI's ranks have since been purged.