A critical perspective on the LSE report on the Taliban-ISI alliance – by Shiraz Paracha

The London School of Economics’ (LSE) recent report on the alleged links between the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban is yet another proof of an unholy alliance, in which Western secret services, the mainstream Western media and some Western academic institutions are partners.

[Read the LSE report in full here (pdf)]

The report is based on a research conducted by a British researcher Matt Waldman, who has been closely linked with the British political and defense establishment. He carried out his research in the early 2010 and conducted interviews in Afghanistan apparently with the help and support of his NATO handlers.

Waldman’s one-sided and highly biased report refers to several unnamed single sources. Accusations against Pakistan are mostly based on hearsay.

The report also mentions an alleged meeting between the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and the Taliban prisoners. The report alleges that President Zardari praised the Taliban. It implies that the President encouraged the Taliban to harm NATO interests in Afghanistan; however, the author fails to specify when and where exactly the alleged meeting took place. He just mentions that the meeting was held at an unnamed Pakistani prison. His sources are some unknown Afghans.

The author made a very serious charge against the democratically elected President of Pakistan without checking facts and talking to the other side. Most of his sources are Western military officials and diplomats, and Afghans whose loyalties could be easily bought by NATO.

The report is widely published in the Western media, however, a leading British newspaper the Sunday Times was the first to take the credit that the report confirmed its own investigations about Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan.

The report raises questions about the motive of the author/authors and the time of the accusations.

The author Matt Waldman worked as a defense adviser for the British Liberal Democrat Party, which is now a junior partner in the British government. He advised his party on Iraq and Afghanistan when both countries were under the Western occupation.

Mr. Waldman is an analyst at Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights in the United States. The Carr Center has links with the US military establishment. It was involved in helping the US military to formulate counter-insurgency measures in occupied Iraq. In fact, a senior figure at the Carr Center led the team that designed the counter-insurgency policy. Carr Center’s so open involvement with the US military forced a well-know American journalist to ask:

Should a human rights center at the nation’s most prestigious university be collaborating with the top U.S. general in Iraq in designing the counter-insurgency doctrine behind the current military surge?”

In 2006, the Carr Center assisted General David Petraeus in his plans to fight the Iraqi resistance. Under the policy, 25,000 American troops were to be sent to Iraq. It resulted in killings of hundreds of Iraqis, while thousands were arrested and tortured. During the military offensive in Baghdad, al-Anbar and Diyala provinces US troops made door-to-door break-ins and violated human rights of innocent Iraqi citizens. All of this was done under the intellectual guidance of academics at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard.

Sarah Sewell of the Carr Center had previously worked at the Pentagon. She helped General Petraeus to organize a ‘doctrine revision workshop’. That resulted in a document, the Marine Corps’  “war fighting doctrine.” It recommended how to “clear, hold and build”, how to use secret agents in calling in air strikes, even advise on public speaking and included many other suggestions on how to pacify Iraqi fighters.

It is interesting that another Carr Center academic, Matt Waldman, has published a report, this time the target is Pakistan. British and American secret services may have helped him in compiling the report. We shall wait and see what wonders this report may bring to Pakistan.

Another actor in the saga is the British newspaper the Sunday Times. The newspaper has published Matt Waldman’s report and wrote:

“According to a report published today by the London School of Economics, which backs up months of research by this newspaper, “Pakistan appears to be playing a double game of astonishing magnitude” in Afghanistan”.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation owns the Sunday Times. Mr. Murdoch is a right-wing businessman who supports military action, and he seems to believe in the Western domination of the world. The Sunday Times is known for its links with the British security services the MI5 and the MI6. The newspaper’s ‘scoops’ often come from the British intelligence sources. The Sunday Times is also accused of a very clear pro-Israeli bias, and its nasty and at times fabricated stories against Iran come from the British intelligence sources.

Recently, the Sunday Times reporters have been harassing Iran’s Press TV staff in London. The newspaper has been campaigning against Press TV because Press TV is an English language international TV channel that has been exposing the distortion and bias of the Western media.

Leading British journalists Yvonne Ridley and Andrew Gilligan and politicians like George Galloway, British MP, Derek Conway and Tony Blair’s sister-in-law Lauren Booth and many others work for Press TV. Obliviously, Press TV poses a challenge to the hegemony of the Western media. 

Press TV director for UK sent a letter to the British Police on 26 March, 2010 against the harassment by the Sunday Times. The letter says:

Dear Sgt Hermitage,

I am the company director of Press TV Ltd. I am reporting yet another politically motivated incident of harassment against me, this time by a Sunday Times reporter. You may see my email to the Sunday Times below for details. You may also see my colleague’s email below who suffered a similar incident at the same time by another reporter. I shall also send you my daughter’s statement once I receive it.

My family is still shaken by the incident, which took place last night at my home address.

I am kindly requesting you to ensure the protection of my family’s right to peace and enjoyment of their home and that this intrusion never takes place again. This is quite frankly ridiculous. My private home address has nothing to do with my work.

I shall not hesitate in contacting you if an incident like this takes place in the future. I thank you for your assistance and I wish for my family’s well-being to be safeguarded by the Metropolitan Police in whatever capacity possible for you.

Thank you.


Company Director 

The above letter shows that if a country or an organization does not subjugate to Western demands it can face the music.

The ISI of Pakistan may have been playing foul. The ISI MUST be held accountable for its wrongdoings; however, the ISI is not the only one.

All secret services break a law and, in fact, these shadowy organizations are one of the biggest threats to democracy. The recent murder of a Hamas leader in a Dubai hotel by the Israeli secret service is one example of spy agencies’ illegal acts.

The CIA and its sister agencies had been accused of using drug money to fund the 1980s Afghan Jihad. Western secret services are also accused of bribing warlords in Afghanistan and Iraq. Media reports suggest that Western agencies have been involved in sectarian violence, kidnapping, torture and gross human rights violations around the world. Such accusations require fair and honest investigations.

Sometimes, I wonder if Pakistan or another country had sent its troops to keep peace in Northern Ireland against the wishes of the British government, what would be the reaction of the British society. It is for sure that in such a scenario, British academics and the media would demand that the MI5 and MI6 must do everything to kick out foreign peacekeepers from Northern Ireland.

But when Pakistanis or Afghans feel uncomfortable with the unwelcome and unwanted presence of the British and American troops in their lands, the same Western academia and the media consider it a crime!

Enlightened West follows and practices double standards. Therefore, Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqi and for that matter anyone who is opposed to Western occupation and oppression can be easily branded as an enemy of democracy and even a terrorist!

Shiraz Paracha is an international journalist and analyst. He can be reached at:shiraz_paracha@hotmail.com



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