Pakistan's notoriously porous border with Afghanistan has facilitated the transshipment of men and materiel. The territories contiguous with that border are formally designated "tribal agencies," semi-autonomous regions administered directly by a political agent appointed by the federal government. The ethnic identity of the population in the agencies is for practical purposes identical to that across the border in Afghanistan. The less formal administration of these agencies has facilitated a variety of illegal cross-border activities, particularly smuggling.
Pakistan has a history of military support for different factions within Afghanistan, extending at least as far back as the early 1970s. During the 1980s, Pakistan, which was host to more than two million Afghan refugees, was the most significant front-line state serving as a secure base for the mujahidin fighting against the Soviet intervention. Pakistan also served, in the 1980s, as a U.S. stalking horse: the U.S., through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), granted Pakistan wide discretion in channeling some U.S.$2-3 billion worth of covert assistance to the mujahidin, training over 80,000 of them.88 Even after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, serving and former Pakistani military officers continued to provide training and advisory services in training camps within Afghanistan and eventually to Taliban forces in combat (see below).
Throughout the war against the communist government and Soviet forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan asserted a mix of internal and external concerns. The ISI and Pakistan army sought leverage against the hostile neighbor on its eastern border, India, by giving Pakistan "strategic depth"-a secure Afghan frontier permitting the concentration of Pakistani forces on the Indian frontier and economic advantages through stronger political and economic links to Central Asia. An Afghanistan that facilitated those connections and provided Pakistan with a base to pursue its objectives in Kashmir would give it greater security against India. Pakistani support for Pashtun parties in Afghanistan helped solidify the position of Pashtuns in Pakistan's military and civilian elites.89
In addition, Pakistan promoted the emergence of a government in Afghanistan that would reduce Pakistan's own vulnerability to internal unrest by helping to contain the nationalist aspirations of tribes whose territories straddle the Pakistani-Afghan border. Further internal considerations motivated Pakistan to direct most of the funding and support it received during the Soviet intervention to Islamist groups. Specifically, Pakistan sought to avoid building up the strength of Pashtun nationalist groups that might subsequently want to carve an independent Pashtun state from Pakistani and Afghan territory.90 Pakistan also sought to quell local support for Afghanistan's ambitions of redrawing the Durand line.91 Thus, Pakistan came to throw its support behind the Hizb-i Islami of Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, a Pashtun-dominated group that espoused an Islamist rather than nationalist agenda. Because the U.S. granted Pakistan wide discretion in channeling its covert assistance to the mujahidin based in Pakistan, Pakistan was able to give Hikmatyar the lion's share, though not enough to compensate for the group's internal weaknesses. Hikmatyar's failure to defeat the Afghan government forces under Defense Minister Massoud and take Kabul left Pakistani policy temporarily at a loss in 1993-94 and searching for a new partner.
The subsequent shift to the Taliban also reflected changes in Pakistan's domestic politics. Newly elected in 1993, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto sought to move away from Hikmatyar and the ISI and find new ways to open trade routes to Central Asia.92 Under pressure from the U.S. after a Pakistan-backed group kidnapped and murdered Western tourists in Indian-controlled Kashmir, the government also sought to put some political distance between itself and the war in Afghanistan.93
Support for the Taliban under Bhutto resided mainly in the interior ministry, according to some analysts. According to Ahmed Rashid, Bhutto's interior minister, Gen. Naseerullah Babar, created the Afghan Trade Development Cell in the ministry ostensibly to promote trade routes to Central Asia but also to provide the Taliban with funds. Moreover, says Rashid, the state-owned Pakistan Telecommunications Corporation set up a telephone network for the Taliban; the public works department repaired roads and provided electricity; the paramilitary Frontier Corps, a part of the interior ministry, set up a wireless network for Taliban commanders; the Civil Aviation Authority repaired Qandahar airport and Taliban fighter jets; and Radio Pakistan provided technical support to the Taliban's official radio service, Radio Shariat.94
The Role of Private Traders
Despite the enormous costs to Pakistan's economy, the authorities in Pakistan have never taken serious steps to check the smuggling. As one local journalist told Human Rights Watch, army officers at the border have themselves benefited from the smuggling to such an extent that they require a convoy to transport their belongings when they are posted to another city.100 The Pakistani traders pay contributions to the madrasas where the Taliban are trained, thus linking them to the political parties that run the madrasas. The traders also make contributions to officials in the local and provincial administrations in Baluchistan and the Northwest Frontier Province who permit the smugglers' markets to operate.101 According to Rubin, "officials of these provinces also benefit from the system of permits in force for the export of food and fuel to the Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan."102 The Taliban thus has links to a broad range of Pakistan's military, political, and social institutions.
Direct Military Support
This would not be the first time that the Taliban suddenly showed new military prowess and innovation. On several occasions between 1995 and 1999, the Taliban's military skills improved abruptly on the eve of particularly pivotal battles, and in one case, declined just as abruptly after a credible threat of intervention was made by an outside power. During its offensives in 1995 against Herat and in 1996 against Kabul, for example, the Taliban suffered heavy losses after mounting attacks against veteran government forces. Initial defeats were followed by a period of quiet; then Taliban troops mounted new attacks, displaying capabilities that had been conspicuously lacking before. At Herat in April 1995, a 6,000-man Taliban army was defeated by government troops after it ran short of ammunition and other logistical support; the rout was such that some analysts predicted that the Taliban phenomenon had run its course.107 Instead, after retraining and refitting, in August 1995 Taliban troops retreating in the face of an offensive by government troops suddenly counterattacked, ambushing the government's spearhead forces while mobile units mounted in 4x4 pickup trucks outflanked the government army and cut the roads connecting it with its rear-area supply depots. Retreating government units tried and failed to establish a defensive line as Taliban units in pickup trucks-many armed with antiaircraft cannon and rocket launchers-repeatedly outflanked the new positions and attacked from the rear, leaving the paved roads at will and driving their vehicles across open ground and rugged, hilly terrain. The pickup trucks, whose delivery was facilitated by Pakistan, introduced a kind of mobile warfare that had not been seen in the fighting before.108
Similarly, after Taliban offensives aimed at Kabul were thoroughly defeated during the autumn of 1995, with significant losses of men and equipment, a period of quiet ensued, but Taliban troops then renewed their attacks and displayed a notable increase in technical capability. Taking Jalalabad on September 11, 1996 and striking north toward the town of Sarobi, a district capital east of Kabul and the linchpin of the government defensive system around the capital, the Taliban troops suddenly displayed the same flair for speed and flank attacks as at Herat in August 1995. Again, retreating government troops were caught off-guard by the speed of the attacks by Taliban forces and their penchant for crossing rough ground in 4x4 pickup trucks and attacking on the government's flanks.109
In these operations Taliban forces used a speed and technical proficiency very uncharacteristic of mujahidin forces generally; the normal pattern of mujahidin warfare was hit-and-run raiding and low-level skirmishing. At Spin Boldak and subsequently at Herat, Kabul, and Mazar-i Sharif, Taliban forces displayed excellent command-and-control capabilities, reacted quickly to changes in battlefield fortunes, and in particular used mobility and maneuvers that were more characteristic of a professional army-specifically, of professional officers and noncommissioned officers trained in the practice of mobile warfare-than of Afghan mujahidin.110
This point was repeatedly emphasized to Human Rights Watch by Western military observers of Taliban combat operations. During one interview, Human Rights Watch was told that following the killings of eight Iranian diplomats and one Iranian reporter at the Iranian consulate in Mazar-i Sharif in August 1998, the Taliban forces that were advancing eastward from the city against resistance from Jamiat, Wahdat, and some Junbish forces suddenly faltered and lost their unusual combat proficiency.111 At the time, the disappearance of the Iranian officials had provoked a major crisis with Iran and a substantial Iranian military force (ultimately close to 250,000 men) was massing on the Afghan/Iranian border. The Iranian government explicitly blamed Pakistan for the incident (Pakistan had given assurances for the diplomats' safety) and threatened military intervention if the diplomats were not produced.112 The sudden decline in Taliban military effectiveness, according to these sources, was caused by the withdrawal of Pakistani military advisers as part of an effort by Pakistan to prevent the crisis from getting out of control.113
Recruitment and Training of Volunteers
The garrison at Rishikor was mentioned frequently during Human Rights Watch's research in the region. A United Front official described it as the main training center for Pakistani volunteers brought to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban (see the sketch in Appendix II, Figure A).119 Several Pakistani volunteer fighters captured by the United Front between 1996 and 1999 who consented to be interviewed by Human Rights Watch while in United Front custody in June 1999 also described receiving training there.120 They said that, as late as 1999, a special compound existed at Rishikor for the training of Pakistani volunteers for the Taliban and that a guarded area within the camp held the living quarters for Pakistani military and intelligence personnel.121 The camp was large and very active, with twenty to thirty trainers, of whom four or five were Arabs and the balance Pakistani. Recruits went through eight or nine classes a day, with up to 150 students per class. They estimated the total number of students in the facility to exceed 1,000 at any given time. The language of instruction was Pashtu, and the subjects covered included physical training, weapons maintenance, weapons training (including on Kalashnikov automatic rifles, RPK light machine guns, ZU antiaircraft cannon, 82mm and 120mm mortars, and rockets122), and religious instruction.
A typical training cycle would last for forty days, following which selected recruits would be sent for further training at specialized camps for armored vehicle crews (at Qandahar) and for commandos, while the bulk would be sent to a front-line area. Volunteers were not obligated to fight following their training but were encouraged to do so as an Islamic duty. In combat, the volunteers were organized into groups of twenty to thirty men, each led by an older man.
The Taliban volunteer fighters interviewed by Human Rights Watch described their Pakistani trainers as being in their forties, military in appearance and speech, and frequently multi-lingual, speaking English in addition to Pashtu and in many cases Arabic and/or Urdu. Leaders of the fighting groups were younger, usually in their thirties, who identified themselves as former Pakistani military. In some instances, self-described former Pakistani military officers provided specialized forms of assistance, particularly with respect to the maintenance and use of artillery. One ex-Taliban fighter described meeting a former Pakistani artillery colonel who claimed to have volunteered to work with the Taliban artillery forces to increase their efficiency and effectiveness.123
Recruitment of volunteer fighters is organized by several Pakistani political parties that use the madrasas they operate as natural recruiting centers. Boys under eighteen are among the recruits. The parties organize speaking tours of rural and urban mosques by veteran fighters who seek to persuade listeners of a holy duty to fight against the United Front.124 The best known of the parties involved is the Jamiat-i Ulema-i Islam (JUI), a religious (Deobandi) party that has operated madrasas and provided various social services in Baluchistan and the Northwest Frontier Province.125 The JUI was among the earliest patrons of the Taliban; party head Maulana Fazlur Rahman was made chairman of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1994 during the Bhutto government and used this position to lobby on behalf of the Taliban both within Pakistan and in the Middle East.126 Human Rights Watch also interviewed several Taliban fighters who were recruited by Harakat-ul Ansar (now Harakat-ul Mujahidin) and Lashkar-i-Taiba, two well-known religious parties that are active in the fighting against Indian forces in Kashmir.127
It should be emphasized that this recruitment is performed openly and even aggressively, and that Pakistani government officials have repeatedly admitted knowledge of the paramilitary activities of the religious schools and some have officially expressed discomfort regarding them.128 Indeed, recruits regularly cross into Afghanistan in trucks and buses, on their way to fight against the United Front, and meet no interference from Pakistani border guards even on main roads.129
Pakistani Taliban fighters interviewed by Human Rights Watch described their transportation to Afghanistan as well-organized. After hearing speeches on the war in their community mosques or at public squares organized by one or another party and deciding to join, the new recruits were directed by party workers at the speaking event to present themselves at the party's district office. At this meeting they were briefed on the rules they would have to follow at the training camp, which included no smoking, drinking, or drug use. They were then sent via bus to Quetta or Peshawar, usually in groups of no more than ten men, and taken across the border in buses. Group size varied but could be up to fifty men, accompanied by a party worker. At no point during the crossing of the border were the recruits required to show their documents to a Pakistani official, although recruits could see that these officials actively checked the documents of other travelers crossing the border. Once over the border, the recruits were frequently transferred to pickup trucks and cars for transportation to Kabul or Qandahar.130
Private Actors' Involvement in Arms Procurement
This system of private procurement has arisen in part due to Taliban mistrust of and impatience with the system employed by Pakistan's ISI to control the Taliban's military operations. Established during the Soviet occupation, the ISI system does not release large amounts of munitions or fuel to Afghan commanders; only when an operation has been approved and cleared by the ISI and the Pakistan Army are the necessary supplies released.132
The Taliban, however, has repeatedly displayed an independent mind in establishing military and political objectives, and on more than one occasion has carried out military operations without ISI approval.133 Accordingly, it has a vested interest in developing an independent procurement capability.
The means to develop this capability came following the Al Faran kidnapping crisis in Kashmir in 1994 (see above); the Bhutto government fired dozens of ISI officers and forced others to retire, including a number of officers who had already established links with the Taliban or who had been active in establishing Pakistan's policy of supporting Pashtun leaders like Gulbuddin Hikmatyar who had forsworn nationalist in favor of religious appeals. A number of these officers either started import-export companies of their own, or joined already existing companies with large private security operations and import-export operations. They then capitalized on their new business connections and their old Taliban ties to prosper as middlemen, locating and purchasing arms and ammunition needed by the Taliban and expediting delivery to Afghanistan.134
These Pakistan-based companies often have buying teams in Hong Kong and Dubai. In Hong Kong, members of these teams search for new technologies, weapons, and sources of ammunition and spare parts that will fit with Taliban needs. In some cases, Chinese companies manufacturing arms and munitions approach these teams themselves to try interesting them in various items. Arms purchased in this manner appear to move primarily by ship. Sealed containers are brought into the port of Karachi and then moved by truck to Afghanistan without inspection, as per the trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan.135
After the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989 and the overthrow of the Najibullah government in 1992 Saudi aid to Afghan factions was driven primarily by a desire to counter Iranian influence in Afghanistan by opposing the growth in power of Iranian clients such as ISA leaders Rabbani and Massoud.136 Once Pakistan threw its support behind the emerging Taliban movement in late 1994, Saudi aid increasingly followed suit. Saudi Arabia was a major financial supporter of the Taliban between the defeat of Hizb-i Wahdat and Hizb-i Islami forces by the Taliban in Kabul in 1996 and the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya by a group of persons who were suspected of being followers of the Saudi expatriate Osama bin Laden. The Taliban's decision to shelter Bin Laden led to U.S. pressure on Saudi Arabia to terminate its support of the Taliban. Official Saudi aid reportedly stopped, but Saudi money and support has continued to find its way to the Taliban in the form of private contributions.
Although the Taliban became active in late 1994, it did not immediately attract Saudi assistance; the Saudi-Taliban relationship began only after Pakistan adopted the Taliban as proxies. Prince Turki al-Faisal Saud, head of the Saudi General Intelligence Agency, traveled to Pakistan in July 1996; shortly thereafter Saudi Arabia became the Taliban's main financial supporter.138
Saudi assistance to the Taliban has at times extended beyond the strictly financial to encompass military and organizational assistance. Western journalists saw white-painted C-130 Hercules transport aircraft which they identified as Saudi Arabian at Qandahar airport in 1996 delivering artillery and small-arms ammunition to Taliban soldiers.139 The Taliban security service, the Ministry of Enforcement of Virtue and Suppression of Vice, bears the same name as its sister service in Saudi Arabia and has been funded directly by Saudi Arabia; this relatively generous funding-as compared to the general poverty of other government organs in the Taliban administration-enabled it to become the most powerful agency within the Islamic Emirate.140
Prince Turki reportedly met Taliban leader Mullah Omar in Qandahar on June 15, 1998 to discuss in detail the planning of the summer offensive that year, which was aimed principally at securing the surrender of Mazar-i Sharif. Turki allegedly pledged the funds necessary to buy off individual United Front commanders during the upcoming fighting.141
Osama bin Laden, the man accused by the United States government of orchestrating the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, has a long history of involvement in Afghanistan. Although he did not work with CIA-supported elements of the Afghan resistance to the Soviet Union, an unclassified U.S. State Department report identified him as a significant supporter of the mujahidin. Bin Laden, whose family fortune was made through construction contracts with the Saudi government, reportedly supplied earth-moving equipment and skilled personnel during the Soviet war to dig underground hospitals, mountain roads, and bunkers. He is also reported to have given financial support to several hundred Arab mujahidin.143
Since 1998 Bin Laden has sheltered from his pursuers in the Taliban-held sectors of Afghanistan. While the Taliban's decision not to extradite or expel Bin Laden has been presented as a function of Islamic codes of chivalry and courtesy, which require the protection of guests from harm, it is also a product of calculated self-interest. It is thought that Bin Laden has continued to serve as a source of funds for the Taliban, paying for their protection of him, even though much of his personal fortune-estimated to total U.S.$300 million-was frozen by Saudi authorities following the embassy bombings. He is also reported to maintain, at his own expense, a 400-man unit of non-Afghan fighters-the 055 Brigade-at the Rishikor base southwest of Kabul which serves as an assault force for the Taliban forces fighting north of the capital.144 Western intelligence sources have stated that Saudi Arabia offered as much as U.S.$400 million to the Taliban in exchange for Bin Laden, an offer which succeeded in causing some divisions within the Taliban leadership.145
82 Pakistan's interior minister, for example, in a statement on May 3, 2001, denied that Pakistan was providing Afghanistan with either weapons or funds, and reiterated his government's position that Afghanistan was a sovereign state over which Pakistan had no control. Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider, cited in "Pakistan denies helping Taliban," Gulf News (Dubai), May 4, 2001.
83 Most of the individuals familiar with Pakistan's support for the Taliban who were interviewed for this report did not wish to be identified. The multiplicity of both state and non-state actors involved in activities, both clandestine and open, that benefit the Taliban also complicates the task of identifying direct sources of support and assigning state responsibility.
84 Human Rights Watch obtained this information from sources in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Interviews and email communication, April and May, 2001. Such reports are not new. A 1997 report of the U.N. secretary-general cites "reliable eyewitnesses" who saw "numerous" such deliveries. U.N. Secretary-General, "The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security," Report of the Secretary-General, S/1997/894, November 14, 1997, para. 18.
85 Human Rights Watch interview with a military expert with experience in Afghanistan, February 2001. These mines include P2 Mk2 A/T (antitank, or antivehicle) blast mine m/m (minimum metal), P2 Mk2 A/P (antipersonnel) blast mine m/m, P3 Mk2 A/T blast mine m/m, and P4 Mk1 A/P blast mine m/m.
86 See for example Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam..., pp. 183-95; and Davis, "How the Taliban...."
87 Human Rights Watch conducted interviews with Western diplomatic sources and military experts, and with journalists and other observers in the region in 1999 and 2000. Human Rights Watch also spoke with a Taliban official in Kabul in 2000 who confirmed that senior Pakistan army and intelligence officers were involved in planning Taliban offensives. All of these sources requested anonymity.
88 For a detailed description of the CIA pipeline and the ISI distribution system, see James Rupert, "Afghanistan's Slide Toward Civil War," World Policy Journal, vol. XI, no. 4 (Fall 1989), p. 759 and 781, fn.1. See also Rubin, The Fragmentation of Afghanistan..., pp. 196-201; Mohammad Yousaf and Mark Adkin, The Bear Trap: Afghanistan's Untold Story (London: Mark Cooper, 1992), p. 4; Kirsten Lundberg, "Politics of a Covert Action: The U.S., the Mujiahedin, and the Stinger Missile," Harvard Intelligence and Policy Project, C15-99-1546.0, Kennedy School of Government Case Program, 1999; and Alan Kuperman, "The Stinger Missile and U.S. Intervention in Afghanistan," Political Science Quarterly, vol. 114, no. 2 (Summer 1999), pp. 219-63.
89 Rubin, "Persistent Crisis...," p. 27, and Human Rights Watch interview with a retired senior Pakistani military officer, Lahore, June 1999. See Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam..., p. 186. According to the late Eqbal Ahmad, "The attainment of `strategic depth' has been a prime objective of Pakistan's Afghan policy since the days of General Ziaul Haq. In recent years the Taliban replaced Gulbuddin Hikmatyar as the instrument of its attainment....Policy-makers in Islamabad assume that a Taliban-dominated government in Kabul will be permanently friendly towards Pakistan. The notion of strategic depth is founded on this presumption." Eqbal Ahmad, "A mirage mis-named strategic depth," Al-Ahram (Cairo), no. 392 (August 27-September 2, 1998).
90 Combatting the development of a movement for the creation of a Pashtun state was a constant preoccupation of General Zia Ul-Haq through the 1970s when he was head of the armed forces and after he seized power in a coup in 1979. Human Rights Watch interview with a retired senior Pakistani military officer, Lahore, June 1999.
91 The Durand line was the boundary drawn between British India and the Afghan ruler Amir Abdurrahman Khan in 1893.
92 Benazir Bhutto was also more closely aligned with the Deobandi Jamiat-ul Ulema-i Islam, which was the origin of the Taliban. Rubin, The Search for Peace..., pp. 138-39; and Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam..., p. 184.
93 Open military support to Hikmatyar, typical of Pakistani policy up to 1994, changed that year after the U.S. almost listed Pakistan as a supporter of terrorism. The threat, which had been building for several years following attacks on U.S. officials in Pakistan, gained momentum after the 1994 kidnapping in Indian-controlled Kashmir of several Western tourists and the subsequent beheading of one by a previously unknown group called Al Faran, believed to be a cover for Harakat-ul Ansar, now known as Harakat-ul Mujahidin, which claimed to be fighting against Indian control of Kashmir. Designation as a terrorist state would have meant the termination of international financial assistance to Pakistan, two-thirds of whose budget is funded by international loans and credits, resulting in the near-collapse of the Pakistani economy. Human Rights Watch interview with a Western diplomat, Islamabad, June 1999.
94 Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam..., pp. 184-85.
95 Ahmed Rashid, "Pakistan and the Taliban," in Maley, ed., Fundamentalism Reborn?..., pp. 76-77. See also the story on Herat as a crossroads for international smuggling in Ghulam Hasnain, "The Taliban's Land of Milk and Honey," Time, vol. 156, no. 21 (May 29, 2000).
96 Rashid, "Pakistan and the Taliban," pp. 77-78; and Rubin, "The Political Economy of War and Peace...," p. 1792. According to Akbar Khan of Pakistan's Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, 80 percent of goods transported into Afghanistan under the ATTA are smuggled back into Pakistan. "Pakistan fears Afghan exodus," BBC News Online, November 19, 1999, http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_528000/528153.stm
97 Rashid, "Pakistan and the Taliban," p. 78.
98 Rubin, "The Political Economy of War and Peace...," p. 1792.
99 Z.F. Naqvi, Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade Relations (Islamabad: World Bank, 1999), pp. 15-16.
100 Human Rights Watch interview with a journalist, Islamabad, July 2000.
101 Rubin, "Persistent Crisis...," p. 28.
103 Human Rights Watch interview with a Taliban official, Kabul, October 2000, and interviews with diplomatic sources in Kabul and Islamabad, July and October 2000.
104 U.N. Secretary-General, "The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security," Report of the Secretary-General, A/55/633-S/2000/1106, November 20, 2000, p. 13.
105 The démarche was the subject of a report by journalist Ahmed Rashid, "Sanctions Will Hurt Pakistan More than Taliban," The Nation (Lahore), November 23, 2000. U.S. diplomatic sources confirmed the report. Human Rights Watch interviews, Washington, D.C., December 2000. Robin Wright of the Los Angeles Times has referred to U.S. intelligence reports that attested to Pakistan's "growing military assistance to the Taliban" in 2000. Robin Wright, "Taliban's Gains in Afghanistan Worry U.S.," Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2000.
106 One of the Taliban forces' known weaknesses in battle is that they tend to overextend themselves, giving United Front forces the opportunity to outmaneuver them. Human Rights Watch interviews with U.S. diplomatic sources, Washington, D.C., December 2000.
107 Anthony Davis, "Afghanistan's Taliban," Jane's Intelligence Review (London), vol. 7, no. 7 (July 1995); and Ahmed Rashid, "Grinding Halt," Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong), May 18, 1995.
108 The battle is described in detail by Anthony Davis in "How the Taliban...," pp. 61-63.
109 Davis, "How the Taliban...," pp. 67-68; and Roger Howard, "How the Pakistan Military is Helping the Taliban," The Daily Telegraph (London), June 1, 1997.
110 While the mujahidin successfully countered the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, they did so with guerrilla-type hit and run methods. They never resorted to the kind of mobile warfare against the Soviet invaders as the Taliban displayed against United Front forces in the mid-1990s.
111 Human Rights Watch interview with a Western diplomat, Islamabad, July 1999. The diplomat noted in particular that fighting underway at the time of the interview at Dara-i Suf involved a 2,000-man Taliban force displaying an impressive facility for coordinating artillery and air support with infantry and armor attacks.
112 Human Rights Watch correspondence with Barnett R. Rubin, May 2000. See also, "Analysis: Offensive against Taleban `unlikely,'" BBC News Online, September 18, 1998,
113 The presence of Pakistani military advisers performing command and control functions for the Taliban offensive prior to and following the fall of Mazar-i Sharif in August 1998 was confirmed by a Pakistani source in a separate e-mail communication with Human Rights Watch, September 1998.
114 Howard, "How the Pakistan Military...." A 1997 U.N. report stated that its employees had "reported an encounter with an unidentified foreign military training unit of several hundred persons near Kabul." U.N. Secretary-General, "The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security," Report of the Secretary-General, S/1997/894, November 14, 1997, para. 18.
115 Some of these parties had already been active in Kashmir. A United Front official told Human Rights Watch that six different camps, including Rishikor, were operating in Taliban-held areas in 1999. Human Rights Watch interview with Mollin Nayim, Head of Intelligence of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, Jabul Siraj, Afghanistan, June 16, 1999. Some of these camps, such as the one at Khost, had originally been set up during the Soviet occupation.
116 Human Rights Watch interview, Peshawar, July 1999. The killings of Iranian diplomats at Mazar-i Sharif in August 1998 and the killing of an Italian United Nations officer and the wounding of a French diplomat in Kabul later that same month after the United States struck at the training camp at Khost were apparently carried out by Pakistani fighters. They were reportedly members of the Sipah-i Sihaba (SSP), a fundamentalist Sunni group which sponsors its own militia fighting in Afghanistan. Two Pakistanis were arrested by the Taliban for the killing of the Italian officer but as of June 2001 had not been formally charged or tried despite requests by the U.N. Human Rights Watch interviews with U.N. officials, Islamabad, October 1998 and May 2001.
117 Human Rights Watch interview, Lahore, June 1999.
118 Information provided to Human Rights Watch by a military expert familiar with Afghanistan, May 2001.
119 Human Rights Watch interview with Mollin Nayim, Head of Intelligence of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, Jabul Siraj, Afghanistan, June 16, 1999.
120 Human Rights Watch interviewed eight Pakistani volunteer fighters in the United Front's Lezdeh prison, Takhar province, Afghanistan, on June 11, 1999. Although these fighters were in custody and could not speak outside of United Front supervision, Human Rights Watch is satisfied that their testimonies were accurate, as we were able to corroborate them with an independent source, a former Pakistani volunteer fighter interviewed in Islamabad in July 1999. All eight men volunteered their names, and they had all been seen by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross; moreover, all had previously been interviewed by foreign journalists.
121 According to these interviews with captured Taliban soldiers, different nationalities were grouped in different camps. Khost, for example, was where most Arab volunteers were trained. Fighting units were also segregated in this way (predominantly Arab, Pakistani, or Afghan), and particular areas of the front lines were reserved for Arab units and others for Pakistani or Afghan units.
122 Several varieties of rocket artillery systems are in use by both sides in the war. In addition to the heavy truck-mounted BM-21/22 and Uragan multiple-barrel rocket launchers, both sides use the Chinese-manufactured 107mm single-barreled rocket launcher, a weapon that became popular during the Soviet occupation due to its light weight, range, and firepower. Human Rights Watch observed these weapons in use during a visit to the front lines at Bangi, on the border of Konduz and Takhar provinces, in June 1999.
123 Human Rights Watch interview, Islamabad, July 1999. Afghan government soldiers noted an increase in the effectiveness of Taliban artillery fire in 1995. Anthony Davis speculates that this was the result of recruitment of communist-era Afghan army officers. Davis, "How the Taliban...," p. 54.
124 Virtually every (captured) Pakistani volunteer fighter interviewed by Human Rights Watch stated that he had decided to become a fighter after being told that the United Front had invited Russian troops to return to Afghanistan, and that the war against the United Front was in fact merely an extension of the fight against the "infidel Soviets." Human Rights Watch interviews with Pakistani Taliban soldiers in United Front captivity, Lezdeh prison, Takhar province, June 11, 1999.
125 The Jamiat-i Ulema-i Islam is a Sunni party heavily influenced by the Deobandi school of thought; it is hostile to Shi'a Islam (perceiving it as heretical) and has a strong egalitarian tradition. See Rashid, "Pakistan and the Taliban," p. 75; Metcalf, Islamic Revival in British India; and Musa Khan Jalalzai, Sectarianism and Ethnic Violence in Pakistan (Lahore: SMA Anjum Rizvi, 1996), chapters 11 and 12.
126 Rashid, "Pakistan and the Taliban," p. 76. A large JUI madrasa near Peshawar, the Dar-ul Uloom Haqqania school, achieved considerable notoriety in 1997 for dispatching hundreds of students to Afghanistan following an appeal by Taliban leader Mullah Omar for assistance. Davis, "How the Taliban...," pp. 44-47; Maley, "Interpreting the Taliban," p. 2; and Olivier Roy, "Has Islamism a future in Afghanistan," in Maley, ed., Fundamentalism Reborn?..., pp. 209-210.
127 Both these parties were described to Human Rights Watch as using Afghanistan primarily to train fighters for the war in Kashmir. Several fighters interviewed by Human Rights Watch commented that they had responded to recruitment drives by the parties in order to fight in Kashmir but had been sent to Afghanistan to receive basic military training and acquire some combat experience. Human Rights Watch interviews with Taliban prisoners, Lezdeh prison, Takhar province, Afghanistan, June 11, 1999.
128 For example, see Charles Sennott, "A New Cold War: Pakistan's Underclass Targets `evil incarnate,'" Boston Globe, June 18, 1995.
129 Human Rights Watch observation at Peshawar/Torkham border crossing in July 1999. It bears repeating that in this instance and subsequently groups of fighters did not employ unpatrolled back roads but crossed at the main border checkpoint, a well-policed facility. For example, thousands of Taliban fighters crossed the border in the summer of 1997-following the destruction of the Taliban army in Mazar-i Sharif and appeals by the Taliban to Pakistani madrasas for more men-without any interference from Pakistani border guards. Davis, "How the Taliban," p. 50.
130 Human Rights Watch interviews with Pakistani Taliban prisoners in United Front custody, Lezdeh prison, Takhar province, Afghanistan, 11 June 1999.
131 Commonly imported munitions include 122mm artillery rounds for Soviet-designed D-30 howitzers, a weapon system in wide use in Afghanistan and a number of which are also in use by the Pakistani Army. Western diplomats told Human Rights Watch that the Pakistani army imports thirteen different kinds of artillery ammunition, reflecting the mixture of artillery pieces acquired from various foreign patrons over the years. Human Rights Watch interviews, Islamabad, July 1999.
132 This system was imposed by Pakistan upon mujahidin commanders during the Soviet occupation in part to curb the exploding black market in weapons, which was developing in Pakistan in the early years of the guerrilla struggle against Soviet forces, and also to enforce some measure of coordination on the quarreling mujahidin groups with regard to military planning. See Yousaf and Adkin, The Bear Trap, pp. 40-42.
133 For example, the initial attack on Herat in the spring of 1995 was opposed by the ISI, which feared that the Taliban was overreaching. Davis, "How the Taliban...," p. 59; and Rashid, "Pakistan and the Taliban," p. 84.
134 Human Rights Watch interviews with diplomatic sources, Islamabad, July 1999. As one source pointed out to Human Rights Watch, the employment of ex-ISI officers in this activity means that these teams have a good working familiarity with the kinds of equipment used by the Taliban forces, which provides a form of safeguard against the purchase of worthless assets. Human Rights Watch interview with a U.S. intelligence official, Washington, D.C., September 1999.
135 Human Rights Watch interviews with diplomatic sources, Islamabad, July 1999. For a description of the Agreement on Tariffs and Trade with Afghanistan, see Naqvi, Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade Relations.
136 Anwar-ul Haq Ahady, "Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Conflict in Afghanistan," in Maley, ed., Fundamentalism Reborn?..., p. 127.
137 Ibid., p. 123, citing The Middle East (London), June 1993, p. 22; and p. 125.
138 Rashid, "Pakistan and the Taliban," p. 76.
139 Robert Fisk, "Circling Over a Broken, Ruined State," Independent (London), July 14, 1996.
140 Barnett R. Rubin, Director, Center for Preventive Diplomacy, and Senior Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, October 8, 1998.
141 Jason Burke, "Taliban split over Bin Laden," Independent (London), September 29, 1998. Human Rights Watch was told that this was in fact done in the city of Bamian, a stronghold of Hizb-i Wahdat that fell to the Taliban in September 1998. Reportedly, the chief Hizb-i Wahdat commander in Bamian was paid U.S.$800,000 to withdraw from the city with a minimum of fighting. Human Rights Watch interview, Islamabad, July 1999. Saudi sources subsequently indicated that Mullah Omar also promised to turn over Osama bin Laden to the Saudi intelligence service for questioning about the 1996 bombing of a U.S. military barracks in Khobar, Saudi Arabia), and reneged on the commitment during a subsequent visit by Prince Turki to Qandahar on September 17, 1998. Prince Turki then advised the Saudi government that ties with the Taliban should be broken off. "Prince Turki Taken In by Mullah Omar," Intelligence Newsletter (Paris), Indigo Publications, October 15, 1998, http://www.indigo-net.com. On Prince Turki's repeated visits to Qandahar, see Dilip Hiro, "Foreign Arms Sustain Afghan Civil War," Inter Press Service, October 20, 1998; "Saudis Turn Cool to Taliban Regime," Chicago Tribune, September 23, 1998; and Suzanne Goldenberg, "Heart of Darkness: A dusty backwater of Afghanistan is now the true seat of power for the religious extremists ruling that oppressed land," Guardian (London), October 13, 1998.
142 A number of legitimate charitable activities, such as supplying food and fuel, can have military ramifications, if only by freeing up government resources for the military. This is a problem in Sudan and elsewhere where NGOs have faced accusations that their activities are "subsidizing" long-running conflicts.
143 Report cited in Vernon Loeb, "A Global, Pan-Terrorist Network; Terrorist Entrepreneur Unifies Groups," Washington Post, August 23, 1998.
144 For additional information on this facility, see above and Appendix II. For more on the 055 Brigade, see Ahmed Rashid, "Taliban Ready for `Decisive' Push," Daily Telegraph (London), July 22, 1999.
145 Saudi efforts did succeed in engineering the defection of Bin Laden's treasurer, Muhammad bin Moisalih, in March 1998. Information from Bin Moisalih was apparently instrumental in the arrest of several prominent Saudis on charges of secretly sending funds to Bin Laden. See "Bin Laden Acts After Treasurer's Defection," Intelligence Newsletter (Paris), March 19, 1998. See also, John Mintz, "Bin Laden's Finances Are a Moving Target; Penetrating Empire Could Take Years," Washington Post, August 28, 1998. A Taliban official declared in October 1998 that Saudi Arabia has asked for Bin Laden's extradition but that the Taliban had refused the request. "Taliban suggest Afghan-Saudi committee to discuss bin Laden," Agence France-Press, October 6, 1998. Saudi Arabia denied asking the Taliban for the extradition of Bin Laden, attributing the freeze in relations to certain unspecified actions by the Taliban. "Saudi Arabia denies asking for bin Laden's extradition," Agence France-Presse, October 14, 1998.