ISI plays all sides, in order to do what appears to be best for Pakistan's military leaders. This means capturing terrorists (mainly foreigners, like al Qaeda), while also sheltering and supporting terrorists (Pakistani Islamic radicals, especially those fighting India). These terrorist relationships are played down, but they are too obvious, and too long standing, to ignore. This particular policy of ISI has been disastrous. The latest example is the deal made, in early September, with the Pushtun tribes along the Afghan border. In return for pulling back troops and police, the tribes agreed to stop the Taliban from using bases in Pakistan to launch raids into Pakistan. As soon as the Pakistani security forces stood down, the Taliban activity picked up. Pakistan insists this is not so, Afghan and American military commanders across the border say otherwise, and the heads of Pakistan and Afghanistan have been bickering in public lately, over the issue. Same deal with Pakistani Islamic terrorist involvement with attacks inside India. Pakistani denies all, India keeps parading more evidence, including captured Pakistani terrorists.
October 2, 2006: Evidence from al Qaeda documents captured in Iraq and Afghanistan indicates that al Qaeda headquarters are located in Pushtun tribal areas in Pakistan, just across the border from Afghanistan. This is the area, Waziristan, where the Pakistani government just agreed to pull its troops back from. Pakistan has always denied al Qaeda had set up shop here, even though Pakistani security forces have arrested over a hundred al Qaeda suspects in the area.
October 1, 2006: In Baluchistan (southwest Pakistan) police arrested six Taliban, who were being treated for combat wounds in a local hospital. The Baluchi tribal chiefs are assembling for a meeting, to try and come up with a joint strategy against government attempts to break the power of the tribes.
September 30, 2006: Separatist violence is again increasing in northeast violence, with grenade attacks and shootings. The tribal separatists had been negotiating, but the talks broke down. Further south, Maoist violence continues, as the communist rebels resist police attempts to suppress the thousands of armed Maoists operating in eastern India.
Once it more, peace in the region comes down to Pakistan's relationship with its intelligence service, the ISI. Pakistan insists that the ISI are heroes. Pakistanis believes that the ISI won the Cold War, by supervising the distribution of Saudi Arabian aid to Afghan guerillas during the 1980s. In fact, ISI did supervise the distribution of money and weapons, after taking a large cut. Fighting in Afghanistan did not bring down the Soviet Union (which never had more than four percent of its armed forces involved there), but economic mismanagement did. While the U.S. is often blamed for "arming the Taliban," it was Saudi Arabia (and other wealthy Persian Gulf Arab states) that supplied most of the money and weapons. The Afghans did most of the fighting, which was not terribly effective. The Russians lost about 15,000 dead in nine years of combat (over two million Afghans died), and left because, as some Russian generals had pointed out in the beginning, Afghanistan really wasn't worth it.