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Unrealistic to believe no ISI- Taliban link alleged in LSE report: Pak editorial

By Samyuktha

Lahore, June 15(ANI): Despite the Pakistan government and the Army "rubbishing" the controversial London School of Economics (LSE) report, an editorial in a leading Pakistan newspaper has said that it would be unwise to reject it without questioning the issues.

The LSE report blamed the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of assisting the Taliban, and also claimed that President Asif Ali Zardari visited senior Taliban prisoners in Pakistan earlier this year, where he is believed to have promised their release and help for militant operations.

According to the News, the report raises as many questions as it fails to answer definitively

"It would also be unwise to reject the report out of hand if only because there is a nagging consistency in the way these and similar allegations keep floating to the surface," an editorial in the News said.

"It may not be that there is the kind of duplicity at every level that the report suggests, but it may not be unrealistic either to believe that there are elements supportive of the Taliban in Afghanistan - for whatever reason," it added.

The LSE report, which is said to be based on interviews with nine Afghan Taliban commanders, claims that the ISI is providing funding, training and sanctuary to the Taliban on a scale much larger than previously thought.

The report also stated that during his meeting with senior Taliban prisoners, Zardari told them that Islamabad was under tremendous pressure from the US to dismantle the Taliban's terror sanctuary in Pakistan and nab the ringleaders, nevertheless the Pakistan government would continue backing the Afghan insurgency.

Zardari is also said to have met Mullah Ghani Barader, Taliban's second in command, who was captured near Karachi in January this year.

Five days after Zardari's visit, a handful of Taliban prisoners were driven into Quetta and set free, in line with the 'president's pledge', the report said. (ANI)

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