Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:00am EDT
"LONDON (Reuters) - Pakistan's security service provides weapons and training to Taliban insurgents fighting U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan, despite official denials, Taliban commanders say, in allegations that could worsen tensions between Pakistan and the United States.
A number of middle-ranking Taliban commanders revealed the extent of Pakistani support in interviews for a BBC Two documentary series, "Secret Pakistan," the first part of which was being broadcast on Wednesday.
A former head of Afghan intelligence also told the program that Afghanistan gave Pakistan's former president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, information in 2006 that Osama bin Laden was hiding in northern Pakistan close to where the former al Qaeda leader was eventually killed by U.S. special forces in May.
Admiral Mike Mullen, then the top U.S. military officer, accused Pakistani intelligence last month of backing violence against U.S. targets including the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
He said the Haqqani network, an Afghan militant group blamed for the September 13 embassy attack, was a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). Pakistan denies the U.S. allegations.
One Taliban commander, Mullah Qaseem, told the BBC the important things for a fighter were supplies and a hiding place.
"Pakistan plays a significant role. First they support us by providing a place to hide which is really important. Secondly they provide us with weapons," he said, according to excerpts provided by the BBC.
Other Taliban commanders described how they and their fighters were, and are, trained in a network of camps on Pakistani soil.
According to a commander using the name Mullah Azizullah, the experts running the training are either members of the ISI or have close links to it.
"They are all the ISI's men. They are the ones who run the training. First they train us about bombs; then they give us practical guidance," he said."
It appears that Pakistan has played us like a violin. pl