II. Background

Since the fall of the Taliban government in November 2001, Afghan insurgent forces—mostly Taliban, Hezb-e Islami, and allied anti-government groups—have launched thousands of armed attacks on Afghan government, US, coalition, and NATO forces, and on the civilian population. International and Afghan military forces have carried out extensive military operations against these insurgent forces, in many cases causing large numbers of civilian casualties. The fighting has grown more intense over time. Although stability has been achieved at various times—for instance, presidential and parliamentary elections were held in 2004 and 2005 without major disruption—Afghanistan’s general security situation has deteriorated from late 2001 to the present, especially in the last two years. The most intense fighting to date occurred in 2006, including major hostilities in southern provinces around Kandahar, and in and around Kunar province, on the eastern border with Pakistan. Government and international officials, and insurgent commanders, have suggested that hostilities in 2007 will be even more intense.

International and Afghan government forces

As of early 2007, there are about 45,000 international troops in Afghanistan. Roughly 32,000 are under the UN-mandated and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and are stationed in Kabul and in different provinces around the country, with the largest concentrations in the south. ISAF’s primary stated goal is to provide security for the government of President Hamid Karzai and to defend government territory against insurgent operations. The United States and some of its allies have an additional 10,000 to 13,000 troops in the country not under NATO command, primarily at Bagram air base north of Kabul and in eastern areas along the Pakistani border. Their primary mission is directed against al Qaeda and other forces suspected of involvement in international terrorism.

In addition, there are approximately 34,000 Afghan troops in the Afghan military, some of which operate alongside international forces during ISAF and non-ISAF operations. There are an unknown number of other unofficial combatants linked to various local commanders, some of whom sometimes cooperate with international forces during military operations.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly reported on human rights concerns with both international and government forces, including concerns about civilian causalities during military operations, and human rights abuses by local military and police.3

Insurgent forces

The insurgency in Afghanistan is comprised of a number of armed groups. The diversity of the groups is reflected in the use of an acronym by Afghan government and allied coalition forces to describe the groups who are fighting against the government and allied forces: AGE for “Anti-Government Elements.” This acronym, as used by the government and its allies, is meant to cover a variety of groups, including tribal militias contesting central government authority; criminal networks, particularly those involved in the booming narcotics trade; and most of all, groups ideologically opposed to the Afghan government, such as the Taliban and the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his Hezb-e Islami (“the Islamic Party”).4

The Taliban movement

Taliban forces have claimed responsibility for most (but not all) of the attacks documented in this report. In many cases, Taliban spokesmen (usually Mohammed Hanif or Qari Yousuf Ahmadi) claimed responsibility for the attacks by contacting the media, although it is impossible to determine to what extent such spokesmen are genuinely representative of the Taliban and have access to information. (Mohammed Hanif was captured by the Afghan government in January 2007.) In other cases, the attacks are associated with “night-letters” issued by groups identifying themselves with some variation on the title of “the Taliban” or on stationary bearing a stamp of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the name of the Taliban-led government that controlled much of the country between 1996 and 2001.

After the United States ousted the Taliban in November 2001, Taliban forces regrouped in their historic powerbase: Afghanistan’s predominantly ethnic Pashtun southern provinces, particularly Kandahar, and in Pakistan, within districts in Balochistan and in North and South Waziristan (the two largest areas of the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas), both with very large Pashtun populations.5

The Taliban movement, however, is not a simple and monolithic entity. Most analysts believe that the movement now combines as many as 40 militant groups, some organized as political factions, others based on Pashtun tribal or regional affiliations. Given the disparate nature of this grouping, it is difficult to estimate how many troops the Taliban can effectively mobilize, but estimates vary from 5,000 (by the US military) to 15,000 (by Pakistani officials) including Pashtun tribal militias. One indication of the increasing strength and boldness of the Taliban is that in 2006 their forces engaged NATO in battalion-sized assaults with sustained logistical and engineering support.6 Another indication came from the increasing public presence of Taliban supporters, many of whom had switched allegiances or at least avoided openly espousing the Taliban cause after the government’s 2001 defeat by the US-led coalition.7

The Taliban’s unexpected military and political resilience in southern Afghanistan in 2006 prompted NATO to try to reach a localized accommodation or truce with Taliban forces, following the model of the Pakistan government’s peace agreement with Pakistani Taliban groups. (More details of the Pakistani peace agreement with the Taliban appear below.) In mid-2006, British forces agreed to leave the town of Musa Qala, in Helmand province, if Taliban forces also agreed to withdraw.8 The much-criticized agreement ended in early December 2006 when Taliban forces and NATO troops again engaged in heavy clashes there.9

The Taliban seem to be operating under three separate geographical command structures, corresponding to the major political centers of southern and southeastern Afghanistan: Jalalabad, Paktia/Paktika, and Kandahar.10 Taliban activity in each area (as well as in Pakistani areas in Baluchistan and Waziristan) seems to be coordinated through a series of shuras (councils) bringing together other Pashtun tribal militias and representatives of various other political groups, including Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami. Smaller groups seem to operate independently of this structure, although they share the Taliban’s ideological and political opposition to the current Afghan government and its international supporters. In addition, several Pakistan-based allied groups appear to be aiding the Taliban, in various ways. According to US and other military officials, cited below, the central leadership of the Taliban movement is now widely believed to be located in the Pakistani city of Quetta, a few hours drive south from Kandahar.

Mullah Omar, who was the undisputed leader of the Taliban government between 1996 and 2001, still appears to hold a position of supreme authority. A document purporting to set out rules of engagement and a code of conduct for the Taliban, circulated in November of 2006, was signed by “the highest leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”—a title not previously used by Mullah Omar, but widely believed now to refer to him.11

After Mullah Omar, the most publicly prominent Taliban military commander is Mullah Dadullah, a long-time Taliban fighter who lost a leg while fighting the forces of the Northern Alliance in 1994. The forty-year-old Dadullah is believed to be in charge of the insurgency campaign against the Afghan government and international forces, and he has boasted of training and dispatching suicide bombers, as well as coordinating attacks against government officials.12 Dadullah is often the public face of Taliban militancy, frequently appearing on propaganda DVDs and issuing press statements.

Dadullah gained international notoriety for his brutality during the rule of the Taliban. Among other abuses, Human Rights Watch documented Dadullah’s campaign against the Hazara population of Yakaolang district, in the mainly Shi’a Hazarajat region, in June 2001, a campaign during which forces under his command killed dozens of civilians, displaced thousands, and destroyed 4,500 homes and 500 business and public buildings in a two-day period.13 Dadullah was captured by anti-Taliban forces during the fighting in northern Afghanistan in October 2001, but escaped under mysterious circumstances, likely as part of a deal by Northern Alliance forces for surrender of other Taliban forces.14 During a video released on the occasion of the Muslim holiday of the Eid al-Adha (December 30, 2006) Dadullah extolled the efficacy of the Islamic “equivalent” of an atomic bomb—suicide bombings—and applauded Muslim youth for undertaking “martyrdom” operations.15

Forces under Jalaluddin Haqqani

Jalaluddin Haqqani is widely believed to be a top military commander in the Taliban-led alliance, though he maintains a relatively low public profile.16 He is one of the most experienced of the military commanders who fought against Soviet occupation, with a power base in Khost, extending to Paktia and Paktika provinces. Haqqani began cooperating with the Taliban in 1995 and eventually held several high-level posts in the Taliban government. In August 2006, Haqqani issued an audio statement reiterating his commitment to fighting international forces under “the white flag” of the Taliban.17

Haqqani is a member of the Zadran tribe and provides a vital link between the Kandahari-based Taliban and the eastern and northern Pashtun groups, particularly in the Pakistani provinces of Northern and Southern Waziristan (for a discussion of the Taliban’s de facto rule over Pakistani Waziristan, see sections below).18 US military officials have claimed that Haqqani supervises much of the training of forces opposed to the Afghan government, including fighters from Central Asia and the Arab world.19 Jalaluddin Haqqani’s son, Sirajuddin, is now believed to exercise considerable day-to-day authority, not just in Afghanistan, but also in neighboring Pakistani Waziristan.20

Haqqani is alleged to have participated in some of the Taliban’s most brutal campaigns of “ethnic cleansing” around Kabul in 1996 and 1997, as the Taliban cemented their control over the ethnic Tajik population north of Kabul. As the Taliban’s Minister of Tribal Affairs, Haqqani had extensive contacts with tribes and Pakistani officials across the border, and he is believed to have helped Osama bin Laden build a network of training camps in Khost and Nangarhar and escape from US forces during late 2001.21

Forces under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

The Hezb-e Islami (“Islamic Party”) of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a longtime warlord whose notoriety was solidified by his shelling and rocket attacks on Kabul in the 1990s, is a Pashtun force operating primarily in southeastern Afghanistan (Kunar in particular). Hekmatyar, a university-trained engineer, professes a very strict interpretation of Islam, but still appears to be less restrictive than the Taliban regarding such matters as allowing education for girls and accepting elections as a means of selecting governments.22

Hekmatyar was one of the leading insurgent commanders in the struggle against the Soviet-backed communist government in the 1980s and early 1990s, and the chief recipient of financial and military support from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. After the communist government fell in 1992, Hekmatyar’s forces entered Kabul, but fought with other mujahidin forces over control of government ministries. His forces were soon pushed back to the south of Kabul, but he continued to rocket the city and engage with other mujahidin forces in Kabul for most of 1992-1995.23 Hekmatyar’s rocket attacks on Kabul during this period killed thousands of civilians.24 Human Rights Watch has called for further investigation of these events and for the prosecution of Hekmatyar and officers under his command for their involvement.

Hekmatyar and the Taliban were initially bitter rivals (Hekmatyar was forced into exile when the Taliban finally conquered Kabul in 1996), and as late as November 2002, Hekmatyar publicly denied cooperating with the Taliban. However, on December 25, 2002, Hekmatyar and the Taliban publicly announced that they were coordinating their activity against the Afghan government and its international supporters.25 Media reports in 2006 indicate that Hekmatyar’s son, Jamaluddin, has represented Hezb-e Islami at meetings with the Taliban.

It appears that the two groups are united more by a common enemy than shared aims, and have not merged their organizations. Hezb-e Islami regularly issues its own communiqués, distinct from those of the Taliban, and assumes responsibility for its own attacks. Numerous sources in northern Afghanistan told Human Rights Watch in late 2006 that Hezb-e Islami had reorganized political and intelligence networks in areas around Kunduz and Mazar-e Sharif—areas in which the Taliban have little to no political support or operational capacity.26 Afghan analysts have questioned whether Hekmatyar would ever fully cooperate with the Taliban, given their different ideologies and his explicit leadership ambitions.27

Pakistan’s role

As far back as the early 1970s, Pakistan has provided military, economic, and political support for different warring factions within Afghanistan. Throughout the 1980s, Pakistan was the most significant front-line state serving as a secure base and training ground for the mujahidin fighting against the Soviet intervention. After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in the late 1980s and US attention shifted to Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, Pakistan continued to support warring factions within Afghanistan, primarily Hezb-e Islami. When Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami failed to capture Kabul during the early 1990s and thereby failed to secure Pakistan’s influence over Afghanistan, Islamabad shifted its support to the Taliban, a then-new movement of religious students (talibs)who were gaining strength in the south of the country. The Taliban went on to take over most of Afghanistan by the late 1990s.

Throughout the 1990s Pakistan’s support for the Taliban included providing diplomatic support as the Taliban’s virtual emissaries abroad, financing Taliban military operations, recruiting skilled and unskilled manpower to fight with the Taliban, planning and directing offensives, obtaining ammunition and fuel for Taliban operations, and on several occasions providing direct combat support.28

Driven from power in December 2001 by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban fled to the remote, mountainous, tribal area of Pakistan. The tribal area, officially known as Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), stretches 500 miles along the Afghan border and is divided into seven districts, or “agencies,” from Bajaur in the north to North and South Waziristan in the south.

After being pushed from their bases inside Afghanistan, the Taliban and other groups, like Hezb-e Islami and al Qaeda, have used the tribal areas to regroup and rearm. Intelligence agencies put the number of non-Pakistani fighters in the tribal areas as high 2,000, including Afghan Taliban commanders, Arabs linked to al Qaeda, and fighters from Central Asia and the Caucuses who support the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.29 Analysts suggest that there may be as many as 32 different militant groups operating just in North and South Waziristan.30

Since the Taliban were overthrown in 2001, Afghan officials, as well as NATO officials and even the UN Secretary General, have accused Islamabad of failing to crack down on Taliban operating from Pakistani territory; some officials have even alleged direct Pakistani support for the Taliban.31 Tribal chiefs in FATA have also alleged that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s intelligence agency, helped the Taliban plan a new offensive in 2007, aimed at NATO and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan, and that the ISI has allowed Taliban forces to move large quantities of weapons and ammunition to the Afghan border.32

Whether insurgents receive assistance from Pakistani authorities or not, there is little doubt that Taliban and other insurgent groups, including al Qaeda sympathizers, have found safe havens in Pakistan: Pakistani government officials publicly admit this (see below).

In September 2006, the UN secretary-general reported that the Taliban leadership “relies heavily on cross-border fighters, many of whom are Afghans drawn from nearby refugee camps and radical seminaries in Pakistan.”33 Besides being reported in the Pashtun-majority districts bordering on south-eastern Afghanistan, there are also numerous reports of insurgent presence in Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan’s Kandahar province. On September 21, 2006, in a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, General James Jones, the former NATO Supreme Allied Military Commander who oversaw US and NATO operations in Afghanistan, testified that it was “generally accepted” that the Taliban leadership was based in and operating out of Quetta—an assessment shared by analysts inside and outside of Afghanistan.34 British government officials have made similar comments.35 From close allies of Pakistan, these are serious allegations.

The Pakistan government has been sensitive about criticisms relating to insurgent activities. In a notable episode, The New York Times published a story in January 2007 detailing reports of Pakistani government support to the Taliban and other insurgents.36 While reporting the story, journalist Carlotta Gall was harassed by ISI agents in Quetta, who detained her photographer and later forced themselves into her hotel room, punched her, and confiscated her notes, camera, and computer.37

President Musharraf and other Pakistani officials have repeatedly denied that the ISI is assisting the Taliban. In response to a leaked UK Ministry of Defense document that suggested Pakistan's intelligence agency was supporting the Taliban, President Musharraf said: “I totally, 200 percent, reject it. . . . ISI is a disciplined force, breaking the back of al Qaeda.”38 Yet Musharraf has also stated that “there are al Qaeda and Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Clearly they are crossing from the Pakistan side and causing bomb blasts in Afghanistan.”39 And in February 2007, Musharraf made a partial admission that Pakistani government personnel might be complicit in allowing insurgents sanctuary in Pakistan. Referring to allegations about Pakistani border guards’ failure to arrest insurgents, a topic raised at a press conference in Rawalpindi in February 2007, Musharraf said “We had some incidents I know of that in some [border] posts, a blind eye was being turned. So similarly I imagine that others may be doing the same."40

Further evidence that insurgents have been active in Pakistan was provided when Pakistani authorities reportedly arrested a senior Taliban military commander in Quetta in late February 2007, around the time of a visit to Pakistan by US Vice-President Dick Cheney.41

Events in North and South Waziristan

In June 2002, a Pakistani army division moved into Khyber and Kurram Agencies to apprehend fleeing al Qaeda members crossing into Pakistan as a result of coalition operations on the Afghan side of the border. However, the deployment had little effect on insurgent movements or rate of attacks on coalition troops in Afghanistan. In 2003, under pressure from Washington, Islamabad began deploying 80,000 troops to both North and South Waziristan Agencies in what turned out to be a botched military operation. With increasing civilian deaths from heavy-handed tactics, and military casualties from insurgents and pro-Taliban militants in the Waziristans, Islamabad was forced to change tactics.

In April 2004 in South Waziristan and September 2006 in North Waziristan—two of the seven FATA agencies—the Musharraf government reached “peace” agreements with pro-Taliban militants.42

Under the agreements, Pakistan pledged to take a much lower profile in both Waziristan areas and withdraw its military from the region. In return, the pro-Taliban signatories pledged not to support, train, and provide sanctuary to the Taliban and al Qaeda-linked fighters, and agreed not to establish new government offices.

Since the North Waziristan deal was struck, pro-Taliban militants in Miramshah, the agency’s seat, have reportedly established criminal courts, levied “taxes” on local businesses, prevented women from leaving their homes, and closed girls’ schools and offices of civil society organizations and NGOs, all of which violate their agreement with Islamabad.43

Many tribal chiefs, clerics, and political actors from tribal areas have denounced the agreements and have demanded an end to support of the Taliban by elements within President Musharraf’s government.44 Local Pashtun politicians say that since that deals were struck between Islamabad and pro-Taliban forces, many tribal leaders who were against the agreements have been killed.45 Bomb attacks and other violence have also increased in tribal areas and border cities like Peshawar.46

Since the agreements were signed, it has become clear that the Taliban and other insurgent groups view the agreements with Islamabad as little more than cover to regroup, reorganize, and rearm. Moreover, attacks against Afghan, US, and NATO forces have increased in eastern Afghanistan since the signing of the accords, especially in Afghan areas bordering North Waziristan. A US military official told the Associated Press that there was a three-fold increase in attacks on US troops in eastern Afghanistan in the month following the agreement between the Pakistan government and pro-Taliban tribesman in North Waziristan.47 Since late 2006, Afghan and Pakistani officials have said that suicide attackers are being trained in Waziristan and other agencies for missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan.48 In a media interview, a diplomat in Kabul identified two Pakistani Taliban leaders as trainers of suicide bombers in Waziristan who were sending bombers into Afghanistan.49

3 See Human Rights Watch, Enduring Freedom: Abuses by US Forces in Afghanistan , vol. 16, no. 3(C), March 2004, (discussing civilian casualties and detention related abuses by US forces); and “Killing You is a Very Easy Thing For Us”: Human Rights Abuses in Southeast Afghanistan, vol. 15, no. 5, July 2003, (discussing abuses by Afghan police and military).

4 Seth Jones, an authority on terrorism and counter-terrorism issues in Afghanistan: “The Afghan insurgency includes a broad mix of the Taliban, forces loyal to such individuals as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, foreign fighters (including al Qaeda), tribes, and criminal organizations.” Interview with Seth Jones, Afgha.Com, December 19, 2006, (accessed January 10, 2007).

5 Though no exact numbers are available, government and non-governmental agencies estimate that some 12 million Pashtuns (about 40 percent of the population) live in Afghanistan, while 25 million Pashtuns live in Pakistan (out of a total estimated Pakistani population of nearly 160 million).

6 During fighting in September 2006 between anti-government forces and Canadian-led NATO troops in the Panjwai region of Kandahar province (dubbed by NATO as “Operation Medusa”), for instance, the Taliban reportedly fielded more than 1,000 troops and used complex trench networks and operated a field hospital. See Noor Khan, "NATO Reports 200 Taliban Killed in Afghanistan,” Associated Press, September 3, 2006.

7 See Elizabeth Rubin, “In the Land of the Taliban,” New York Times Magazine, October 22, 2006; Syed Saleem Shahzad, “How the Taliban Prepare for Battle,” Asia Times Online, December 4, 2006, (accessed January 10, 2007).

8 This concept is recognized under international humanitarian law as a “demilitarized zone.” See Protocol I, article 60.

9 Jason Straziuso, “Militants Killed in Afghanistan Fighting,” Associated Press, December 4, 2006.

10 The United Nations further subdivides this broad grouping into five distinct command structures: The Taliban northern command for Nangarhar and Laghman; Jalaluddin Haqqani’s command mainly in Khost and Paktia; the Wana shura for Paktika (Wana is the district headquarters of Southern Waziristan agency); the Taliban southern command; and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb- e Islami command, an allied but distinct network for Kunar and Pashtun areas in northern Afghanistan. United Nations, “Report of the Secretary-General,” September 11, 2006 .

11 Christopher Dickey, “The Taliban’s Book of Rules,” Newsweek, December 12, 2006, (accessed January 10, 2007).

12 Michael Hirst, “Brutal One-legged Fanatic Who Loves the Limelight,” The Telegraph (UK), July 2, 2006.

13 Human Rights Watch, Afghanistan: Ethnically-Motivated Abuses Against Civilians, October 2001,

14 “Afghanistan: Urgent Need to Decide How to Prosecute Captured Fighters,” Human Rights Watch press release, November 26, 2001,

15 SITE Institute, “Video Interview with Commander Mujahid Mullah Dadullah by as-Sahab,” December 28, 2006, (accessed January 2, 2007).

16 Syed Saleem Shahbaz, “Through the Eyes of the Taliban,” Asia Times Online, May 5, 2004, (accessed January 2, 2007).

17 Janullah Hashimzada and Abdul Rauf Liwal, “Haqqani for Intensive Fight Against US Forces,” Pajhwok News Agency, August 2, 2006.

18 Jan Blomgren, “Jalaluddin Haqqani was one of the great Afghan heroes during the war for independence,” Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden), July 9, 2006.

19 Carlotta Gall and Ismail Khan, “Taliban and Allies Tighten Grip in Northern Pakistan,” New York Times, December 11, 2006.

20 Robert D. Kaplan, “The Taliban's Silent Partner Pakistan,” New York Times, July 24, 2006; Syed Saleem Shahbaz, “Through the Eyes of the Taliban,” Asia Times Online, May 5, 2004, (accessed January 2, 2007), and Shahbaz, “Stage Set for Final Showdown,” Asia Times Online, July 21, 2004, (accessed January 2, 2007).

21 Peter Bergen, “The Long Hunt for Osama,” The Atlantic Monthly, October 2004.

22A public statement by Hekmatyar delivered on the occasion of the Eid al Adha on December 29, 2006, called for a representative government and condemned attacks on schools, including those which teach secular topics such as science. “Hekmatyar Says in Eid Message that US Facing Imminent Defeat in Afghanistan,” BBC Monitoring South Asia, December 30, 2006, on file with Human Rights Watch. Passages from this statement are included in the Legal Analysis section, below.

23 For more on Hekmatyar’s history and his role in the fighting in Kabul in 1992-1994, see Human Rights Watch, Blood Stained Hands: Past Atrocities in Kabul and Afghanistan’s Legacy of Impunity (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2005),

24 See ibid.

25 Reports in early March 2007 of a split between the Taliban and Hezb-e Islami were denied by a Hekmatyar spokesman. Rahimullah Yusufzai, “Hekmatyar denies offering unconditional talks to Karzai,” The News (Pakistan) March 9, 2007.

26 Human Rights Watch interviews with civil society leaders in Mazar-e Sharif, September 2006.

27 See, for example, Abdul Qadir Munsif and Hakim Basharat, “Conflicts keep away Taliban, Hezb-e Islami,” Pajhwok News, December 13, 2006; and Syed Saleem Shahbaz, “Taliban line up the heavy artillery,” Financial Express (Bangladesh), December 28, 2006, available at

28 Human Rights Watch, Afghanistan – Crisis of Impunity: The Role of Pakistan, Russia, and Iran in Fueling the Civil War, vol. 13, no. 3 (C), July 2001,

29 International Crisis Group, “Pakistan’s Tribal Areas: Appeasing the Militants,” Asia Report No. 125, December 11, 2006, (accessed January 15, 2007); and “Taliban on Consolidating Position in Afghanistan, NWFP,” ANI, December 11, 2006.

30 International Crisis Group, “Pakistan’s Tribal Areas: Appeasing the Militants, ”Asia Report N°125, December 11, 2006, (accessed January 14, 2007).

31See Elizabeth Rubin, “In the Land of the Taliban,” New York Times Magazine, October 22, 2006 (noting that the ISI is advising “the Taliban about coalition plans and tactical operations and provide housing, support and security for Taliban leaders.”). See also Paul Watson, “On the trail of the Taliban’s support,“ Los Angeles Times. December 12, 2006 (reporting that the Afghan and United States governments suspect the ISI of supporting the Taliban and its allies). Barnett Rubin, an authority on Afghanistan’s political and security situation, states that intelligence gathered during mid-2006 Western military offensives “confirmed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was continuing to actively support the Taliban leadership.” See Barnett Rubin, “Saving Afghanistan,” Foreign Affairs, December 2006/January 2007.

32 Ahmed Rashid, “Taliban Drown Our Values in Sea of Blood, Say Political Leaders from the Pashtun Tribes,” Daily Telegraph (UK), November 22, 2006.

33 Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for peace and security,” Report of the UN Secretary-General to the UN General Assembly, September 11, 2006.

34 General Jones’ comments were reported by Barnett Rubin, “Saving Afghanistan,” Foreign Affairs, January/Feburary 2007, (accessed January 15, 2007). See also Seth Jones, “Terrorism’s New Central Front,” Center for Conflict and Peace Studies-Afghanistan, September 26, 2006, (accessed January 15, 2007).

35 See Alastair Leithead, “Helmand seeing insurgent surge,” BBC online, February 11, 2007, (accessed February 12, 2007; quoting Afghan and British military officials describing Arab and Afghan insurgent fighters crossing into Helmand from Baluchistan province in Pakistan).

36 Carlotta Gall, “At Border, Signs of Pakistani Role in Taliban Surge,” New York Times, January 21, 2007.

37 Carlotta Gall, “Rough Treatment for 2 Journalists in Pakistan,” New York Times, January 21, 2007. On January 25, 2007, at a public event at the Davos World Economic Forum, journalists asked Pakistan’s prime minister Shaukat Aziz about the incident. Aziz said that Gall “should not have been where she was, legally,” and stated that she violated the terms of her visa by visiting Quetta without authorization from the government. See Katrin Bennhold and Mark Landler, “Pakistani Premier Faults Afghans for Taliban Woes on Border,” New York Times, January 25, 2007. (Aziz’s claims appear to be disingenuous: Human Rights Watch confirmed that Gall’s Pakistani visa in fact had no travel restrictions.) Aziz added that it was “regrettable [Gall] got bruised in that interaction” and that Pakistani authorities were investigating the matter. Aziz also denied the allegations in the January 21 article, calling them “ridiculous,” and said that Afghanistan itself was to blame for insecurity in border areas. On January 27, 2007, also at Davos, Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, asked Aziz about the incident again; Aziz provided no explanation as to why Gall required permission to visit Quetta (a city which other journalists, and Human Rights Watch researchers, have repeatedly visited without authorization or permission).

38 Declan Walsh, “Taliban Attacks Double After Pakistan's Deal with Militants,” The Guardian, September 29, 2006. See also Katrin Bennhold and Mark Landler, “Pakistani Premier Faults Afghans for Taliban Woes on Border,” New York Times, January 25, 2007 (quoting Pakistani prime minister Shaukat Aziz denying Pakistani involvement in Afghan insurgency).

39 David Montero, “Pakistan Proposes Fence to Rein in Taliban,” The Christian Science Monitor, December 28, 2006.

40 “Musharraf admits border problems,” BBC Online, February 2, 2007, (accessed February 1, 2007). A Taliban fighter also told a BBC correspondent in early March 2007 that Pakistani frontier guards generally allow Taliban fighters to pass over the border without interference. See Ilyas Khan, “Taliban Spread Wings in Pakistan,” March 5, 2007, (accessed March 26, 2007).

41“US, Pakistani Officials Grill Nabbed Taleban Leader Rana Jawad,” Agence France-Presse, March 4, 2007.

42 The agreements were reported to be sanctioned by Taliban commander Jalaladin Haqqani and brokered by head of the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUIF), Fazlur Rahman who in 1993 with assistance from Pakistan’s ISI helped form the Taliban and catapult it to power in Afghanistan.

43 “Taliban slap taxes in Miramshah,” The Dawn (Pakistan), October 23, 2006, (accessed February 1, 2007).

44 Ahmed Rashid, “Taliban Drown Our Values in Sea of Blood, Say Political Leaders from the Pashtun Tribes,” Daily Telegraph (UK), November 22, 2006.

45 Carlotta Gall and Ismail Khan, “Taliban and Allies Tighten Grip in North of Pakistan,” New York Times, December 11, 2006.

46 Carlotta Gall, “Islamic Militants in Pakistan Bomb Targets Close to Home,” New York Times, March 14, 2007.

47 “Taliban Attacks Triple in Eastern Afghanistan since Pakistan Peace Deal, US Official Says,” Associated Press, September 27, 2006.

48 “Taliban on Consolidating Position in Afghanistan, NWFP,” ANI, December 11, 2006.

49 Carlotta Gall and Ismail Khan, “Taliban and Allies Tighten Grip in North of Pakistan,” New York Times, December 11, 2006.