Washington: Against the backdrop of the WikiLeaks disclosure about ISI's double-game in Afghanistan, former US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has said the Pakistani spy agency has a relationship with the Taliban.
"When we got muddled down to 2005 to 2008 or so, I think Pakistan and the ISI changed their mind and they wanted to have a vote at the Pashtun table in Afghanistan and they started (having a relationship with the Taliban)," he said in response to a question at the popular Charlie Rose show on PBS.
His remarks came weeks after WikiLeaks, a whistle-blower website, made public thousands of classified US military documents on the Afghan war, which also revealed ISI's double game including its Taliban links.
However, Armitage said when he was the Deputy Secretary he did not find any evidence of such a relationship between the ISI and Taliban.
"When I was Deputy Secretary, I looked almost every day -- from the time that we invaded Afghanistan until I left in February of 2005 -- for evidence of any assistance from ISI. We didn't see it. We saw some liaison, but not modern equipment or weapons or anything of that nature.
"I believed at that time -- first of all, we had dispersed the Taliban to a very high degree -- and ISI were thinking that the coalitions were going to prevail," he observed.
Armitage was recently in Pakistan where he met some of the former ISI officials having close links with the Taliban and they, according to him, told him that the US would fail in Afghanistan.
"A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to go to Pakistan and Afghanistan and I actually met General Beggs (sic), former ISI director and he's written -- a former counterpart of mine years ago -- and he's written terrible things about the United States.
"He had with him a fellow by the name of Colonel Imam (Colonel Sultan Amir Tarar, better known as Colonel Imam) who's the father of the Taliban. And Colonel Imam, as I was looking up to see for drones overhead, he proceeded to give me an hour long treatise on why the United States would fail in Afghanistan and the relationship in Pakistan and Afghanistan," Armitage said.
He (Colonel Imam) said basically these are graduates of the university of the Kalashnikov. They're fighting for their country and you're not. You're infidels. They will get you," according to the former Bush-era official. PTI