In a BBC documentary entitled ‘Secret Pakistan,’ a number of middle-ranking Taliban commanders have ‘revealed’ that Pakistan’s security services provide weapons and training to the Taliban fighting US and British troops in Afghanistan.
The so-called Taliban commanders boast of having received “practical guidance” and training in bomb-making from ISI officers, while a former head of Afghan intelligence claims Afghanistan gave former president Gen Pervez Musharraf information in 2006 that Osama bin Laden was hiding in northern Pakistan close to where he was eventually killed by US forces in May.
Both the Foreign Office and the army have rubbished the BBC documentary. Indeed, it would not be unfair to question the editorial impartiality of the documentary. For starters, it relies heavily on interviews of officials previously and currently linked with the American, British and Afghan intelligence services and governments. These include former British ambassador to Afghanistan Sherard Cowper Coles, known critic of Pakistan Amrullah Saleh who headed Afghan Intelligence from 2004-2010, ex-CIA officer Bruce Riedel, and Colonel Richard Kemp. If there is one thing sorely missing in the film, it is Pakistan’s version.
To be sure, if Secret Pakistan “does not attempt to take sides” as claimed by the BBC spokeswoman, then why were certain rules of acceptable conduct not followed while compiling the report? Why was an outdated interview of the DG ISPR included rather than a specific interview asking him to respond to the allegations made in this report?
Also, why are specific names of known commanders belonging to the areas under question not mentioned? And since there are interviews of Washington-based analysts, why aren’t the opinions of Pakistani commentators sought in a similar fashion? At this point, it would be in Pakistan’s favour — given severe criticism of its alleged destabilising role in Afghanistan — to take up the allegations more systematically rather than issue a general rejection. That having been said, one expected a more balance, impartial and journalistic report from the world’s largest broadcaster.
Source: The News