By NBC News and msnbc.com staff
Posted: Jan.31st, 2012
Pakistan’s security services are directly assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan and know where senior militant leaders are hiding, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
The British news service cited a leaked secret NATO report compiled from thousands of interrogations.
According to the report, the Taliban remain defiant in the midst of allied bombardment and also still maintain wide support among Afghans.
The BBC story comes after a series of reports that the United States, NATO and the Afghan government plan talks with the Taliban in an effort to end the 10-year war in Afghanistan. It also comes amid tensions between the United States and Pakistan.
Defense Secretary Panetta told CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday that he remains convinced that someone in the Pakistani government must have had an idea that a person of interest was in the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed. In the interview, Panetta acknowledged a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, provided information to the United States that helped identify the al-Qaida leader. After the raid, Pakistan arrested Afridi and has accused him of treason.
And last November, Pakistan shut down NATO supply routes into Afghanistan after a NATO raid killed 28 Pakistani troops at a remote outpost. The Pakistani government also ordered a U.S. drone base closed.
According to the BBC’s correspondent in Kabul, Quentin Sommerville, the leaked report for the first time exposes ties between the Pakistani intelligence service, known as ISI, and the Taliban.
Though alleged in the past, Pakistan has denied any direct links with the Taliban.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen alluded to ISI ties to militants fighting in Afghanistan during testimony in September 2011, according to NBC.
He called the Haqqani Network, a close ally of the Taliban, the “veritable arm” of the ISI, and said that the ISI is using other “proxies” to attack in Afghanistan.
NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings told the BBC that the report was a “classified internal document not meant to be released to the public.”
According to the BBC, the report, based on 27,000 interrogations with captured Taliban, al-Qaida and other fighters, states: “As this document is derived directly from insurgents it should be considered informational and not necessarily analytical.”
Msnbc.com staff and NBC News’ Courtney Kube contributed to this report.