Taliban leadership is now in Pakistan, jihadist group connected to ISI, says leaked letter. In picture: Afghan police personnel escort two suspected Taliban militants in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, May 4, 2016.IANS

A letter from a key confidant of Taliban's founding leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has laid bare the links between the terrorist organisation and Pakistan, and even showed that the Taliban leadership is in that country, bolstering India's claims that Pakistan has been constantly fomenting unrest by helping terrorists. It has also explained why Pakistan once chose to say that there was a good Taliban and a bad Taliban.

The leaked letter, written by Syed Mohammad Tayyab Agha in the Pashto language and accessed by Gandhara, a news agency close to Radio Free Europe, has urged for a complete overhaul of the Taliban's strategy and tactics in an effort to ensure that the group has a role to play in Afghanistan.

The report quotes Agha as writing in the letter to current Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada: "How can the Taliban leadership, now camped in Pakistan, demand that people in Afghanistan or elsewhere pledge allegiance to them? Can we consider such acts in accordance with Islam?"

"A reliance on media propaganda and forming [shadow] government institutions, control of rural territories, and most of the movement's leadership being in a foreign country [Pakistan] doesn't amount to a [legitimate] government in our country," he added.

At another point in the letter, he wrote: "To be able to make independent decisions, you, the members of our leadership council, and heads of our various commissions, should leave Pakistan. The presence of our movement's key decision-makers and institutions in the prevailing situation there means Pakistan can impose things against the interests of our movement and Afghanistan."

Connection with ISI

The letter details the steps Agha has outlined for the Taliban in order for it to remain relevant in Afghanistan. These include a huge reduction in violence, the severing of secret ties with Pakistan, a new approach — especially on the political front, and a relook at the ties the Taliban shares with other jihadist organisations. 

At one point in the letter, Agha also confirmed that the Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence is also involved in helping the Taliban. He wrote: "All the [Taliban] military or non-military figures who keep direct or indirect contact with the Pakistani, Iranian, or other foreign intelligence services should be removed from their posts."

Elaborating on the part about reduction of violence, he wrote in the letter: "You should give up using violence and intimidation to force people to pledge their allegiance to you as the commander of the faithful until you can meet all the requirements [of the Islamic Sharia law]."

Agha also wrote: "All the mujahedin fighters should be ordered to cease killing our opponents inside mosques and stop killing prisoners. Stop killing people under suspicion travelling on roads. Stop bombing bridges, roads, and other similar places. Stop killing aid and construction workers who are helping our nation and building our homeland."