Wahab left Afghanistan for jihad and signed up in Pakistan, where he received his training.
Childhood friends recruited the 20-year old and took him to Parachinar, Pakistan’s rugged mountainous border with Afghanistan. A relative said that he was trained there and prepared to fight alongside the Afghan Taliban. The relative spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals by militants.
Many Afghans are blaming Pakistan for their success in capturing territory in Afghanistan by the Taliban. They point out the multiple ways they have used Pakistani territory. Islamabad is under increasing pressure to stop the Taliban from capturing territory in Afghanistan.
Analysts say Pakistan’s leverage can be overstated but it allows the Taliban leadership to control its territory. It also allows its wounded soldiers to receive treatment at Pakistani hospitals. Their children attend school in Pakistan, and some of them have their own property. Many Pakistani politicians refer to the insurgents “the new, civilized Taliban”.
Ismail Khan is a powerful U.S.-allied warlord who is trying to defend Hisat, western Afghanistan, from a Taliban invasion. He told local media that the conflict raging in Pakistan was due to Pakistan.
“I can tell Afghans openly that this war isn’t between Taliban or the Afghan Government. He said that Pakistan is fighting the Afghan nation. “The Taliban are their resource, and they are serving as a servant.”
Pakistan tried unsuccessfully convince Afghans that they don’t want the Taliban government in Afghanistan. They claim that Pakistan no longer views Afghanistan as a client country, and can provide strategic depth against India’s hostile neighbor.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan stated to every public and private forum, that Pakistan wants peace and has no favourites in the war and is strongly opposed to any military takeover by Taliban.
According to security officials who were privy to the discussions, the country’s powerful army chief has twice left meetings with Taliban. He was frustrated by their intransigence, and angry at what he perceives as the Taliban’s determination for full control in Afghanistan. The officials spoke with The Associated Press under oath because they were not authorized to discuss the meetings.
Yet, Afghans remain skeptical. Even the international community is skeptical. Last week, the United Nations rejected Pakistan’s request that it address a special meeting about Afghanistan.
Images of Taliban fighters killed in combat are fueling the criticism. They were buried in Pakistan at funerals attended hundreds of people waving their flags. In a speech to Parliament last year, Khan called Osama Bin Laden a martyr, which was seen as a reference to militants.
The Taliban attacked Spin Boldak, an Afghan border town. Insurgents wounded were treated in Pakistani hospitals in Chaman. The Taliban seized the town and continue to hold it.
According to AP, a Chaman doctor told the AP that he had treated many Taliban wounded. He said that several were taken to Quetta, Pakistan for further treatment. Quetta is where many of the Taliban leaders reportedly reside, along with the Arabian Sea port town of Karachi. Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, the doctor spoke under anonymity.
According to international rights groups and analysts, there are thousands of madrassas (religious schools) in Pakistan that inspire students to jihadi in Afghanistan.
Although their recruitment is generally unaffected, it does occasionally get interrupted by a local news report reporting on the bodies of Afghan fighters. After the nephew of the cleric returned home for a burial, Pakistani authorities closed the Darul-Aloom-Ahya-ul Islam Madrassa in Peshawar. Even though the cleric acknowledged that he had sent his students to Afghanistan, the madrassa was free to operate for decades.
Salman, Wahab’s cousin, left a Pakistani madrassa to join the Pakistani Taliban a few years back. Propaganda videos that purport to depict atrocities committed by foreign troops inspired Wahab to join the militants. His relative stated that he ran from Afghanistan’s border areas earlier this year. However, his family was able track him down in Pakistan to bring him home, before he became a fighter.
The relative stated that militants are active in mosques and streets of Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pukhtunkhwa region. However, they have been less aggressive in recruiting due to recent Pakistani military operations.
Amir Rana (executive director of the independent Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies) said that Pakistan will continue to face international criticism and suspicion if it does not adopt a “zero tolerance policy” for jihadis. He said, “Justifying it must stop.”
A senior security official confirmed that there are sympathies in Pakistan for extremists, responding to AP’s request. It all started with a U.S.-backed program to encourage Afghans to fight Soviets in 1980s. He claimed that this was a U.S.-funded program that glorified jihad and cast the Soviet occupying troops in Afghanistan as “godless communists”. He stated that Pakistan doesn’t want a Taliban government in Kabul because it would promote extremism.
Two security officers denied that any government aid is given to jihadi groups at the border. Two security officials stated that a Pakistani fence is being constructed along the long border to Afghanistan. This will prevent the smuggling and smuggling. Officials spoke under anonymity as they weren’t authorized to speak.
Pakistan is concerned about Afghanistan’s support for militants against the Islamabad government. According to Pakistani security officials, Kabul’s intelligence agency allows India’s rival to attack Pakistan with militants in Afghanistan. They claim that over 200 Pakistani military personnel were killed by insurgents who crossed the border within the past six months.
The Durand Line border is a symbol of the troubled relationship between these two neighbours. Afghan leaders refuse to recognize the Durand Line, and claim some Pakistani territories ruled by Pashtuns. Pashtuns from both sides of border have tribal links. Afghan Pashtuns are the backbone of Taliban.
Analysts believe Islamabad has supported extremist sentiment and cooperated with militants when it was in its best interests. Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, which was formed deep ties with many radical Afghans during the long war against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, also included the Haqani group, which is arguably the most powerful faction of the Afghan Taliban.
Michael Kugelman (deputy director, Asia Program at Washington-based Wilson Center), stated that “Islamabad does have a lot of leverage over the Taliban.” “But the Taliban is fighting a war that it believes it is winning and has the luxury to resist Pakistani requests to reduce violence and agree to talks.”
“For the Taliban, it’s simple: Why quit when your ahead?”