ISI-Taliban links "a concern" to US, says Gates

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Washington, Aug 2(ANI): The United States has acknowledged that the allegations that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency is guiding the Taliban were "a concern".

"There's no question about it (ISI-Taliban link concern), but I would say that, again, we walked out on Pakistan and Afghanistan in 1989 and left them basically holding the bag. And there is always the fear that we will do that again," The Daily Times quoted Robert Gates, U.S. Defence Secretary, as saying.

"And I believe that's the reason there's a certain hedge," he added.

Gates, however, defended Pakistan on the issue, saying the country was actively targeting militants.

"What I see is a change in the strategic calculus in Pakistan. They are more and more partnering with us and working with us and fighting these insurgents and 140,000 soldiers (are) in northwestern Pakistan fighting some of the same insurgents that we are," Gates said.

WikiLeaks, the whistle-blower organization has posted over 90000 classified documents about the Afghan war on its website, which suggests that between 2004 and 2009, elements of the ISI had armed, trained and financed the Taliban.

The documents allege that former ISI chief Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul (ret.), who ran the organization in the late 1980s, frequented Pakistani madrassas where suicide bombers are trained for Afghanistan, and attended planning meetings involving the Afghan Taliban seeking to attack both Afghan officials and foreign troops inside the country. (ANI)

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