Alwaght- Invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet army in the 1980s ushered in rise of radical Islamist groups that later played an active role in regional developments.
When Afghanistan rose to fight back against the Soviet forces, the US, the Persian Gulf Arab states, and Pakistan provided unceasing military, financial, and even spiritual support to the mujahedeen and the Afghan-Arab fighters who fought the Red Army and who later set up bases of al-Qaeda and Taliban even when the Soviets retreated.
During the war against the Soviet forces, Pakistan's focus was on overthrowing the pro-Soviet government of President Mohammed Najibullah, beside a fierce campaign to destroy the neighboring country’s infrastructure. This end motivated Islamabad leaders to invest heavily on a series of rebel groups including the Haqqani Network and Taliban to make them race in struggles to destroy the Kabul government.
Even now, many analysts argue that Islamabad's backing for the Taliban is as unwavering as the initial years.
Jack J. Roney, an American political analyst, notes that there are 180 documented reports which suggest that top Pakistan Inter-intelligence Services (ISI) officers frequently meet with Taliban leaders for coordination. Roney believes that the ISI has trained the militant group and helped it organize highly complicated operations against the Afghan government targets. He, additionally, maintains that there were documents at hand showing that some ISI agents were practically Taliban commanders.
Why does Pakistan still support Taliban while the initial drives for establishing the group no longer exist? And why does Islamabad is reluctant to repress the group while it has strong army and intelligence services among top actors?
Initially, it must be known that terrorism poses no threats to Pakistan, rather Islamabad takes advantage of terrorist groups as it pursues internal, regional, and even international goals.
At home, terror has proven an efficient tool in the hands of the country’s intelligence and political officials who wish to contain other religious communities like the Shiites. This exploitation by top political levels showed itself unprecedentedly during the rule of President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, a former four-star army general who systematically emboldened Islamist radicalism that was used to serve the Pakistani national interests.
The government's encouragement of radicalism produced several militias, among them was the Sepah-e-Sahaba which with its hardline anti-Shiite stances had favor of Zia-ul-Haq government.
Some analysts, however, blame the political corruption that, they say, has penetrated into the heart of the Pakistani political system and attracted the terrorist and radical groups that along with some local and state officials profit from drugs smuggling.
Expansion of terrorism can help Pakistan with its regional agendas including increasing influence over the neighboring Afghanistan. In 1994, the government of Benazir Bhutto and ISI laid the foundation of Taliban. The plan drew wide-ranging welcome of an array of beneficiaries like some Pakistan businessmen, drugs smugglers, and political and military officials.
Taliban announced existence in early 1994 and shortly after seized Kandahar and then Harat provinces. On September 27, 1996, the capital Kabul fell to Taliban following a sweeping campaign against President Najibullah, who was executed upon the city collapse. Even now Taliban serves the Pakistani agenda and implements Islamabad’s destabilizing plans in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani leaders seek limiting Afghanistan government through putting strains on Kabul officials for next-step political privilege wresting. The war in Afghanistan is in fact fueled by decades of Pakistani support for Taliban.
Terrorist actions by a series of radical organizations such as Taliban, al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Sepah-e-Sahaba whose main safe havens are Pakistan and Afghanistan have been key to frequently renewed waves of Islamophoia around the world. This is by the way proves favorable to the Western governments as they take advantage of civilizations encounter.
The West, and particularly the US, in fact prefers not to press Islamabad to crack down on extremist groups on its soil. The West even offers backing, directly or indirectly, to Pakistan-backed extremism for own goals like curbing growing Iranian influence and inflaming Islamophoia, Shiitephobia, and sectarianism conflicts. The US sends drones to ostensibly fight terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan border areas, where radical groups hide, but the main objective, many analysts agree, is spying. In return for border areas presence, the US offers financial aids to Pakistan. Between 2002 and 2010, Washington gave $19 billion in various aid packages to Islamabad.