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Leaked NATO report says Taliban backed by Pakistan's spy agency (VIDEO)

A leaked NATO report on the Taliban shows their influence and support is still strong.

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A leaked NATO report has suggested that the Taliban still enjoy support and influence in Afghanistan, with the backing of Pakistan's spy agency, the ISI. The Taliban, ousted from power by a US-led invasion in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, announced earlier this month that they planned to set up a political office in Qatar ahead of talks with Washington. AFP PHOTO/ Aref KARIMI (AREF KARIMI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Taliban in Afghanistan are being helped by Pakistani security forces, reported the BBC after obtaining access to a secret NATO report.

The report, which was leaked, claims the Taliban have wide support in Afghanistan. The BBC said the report was based on information derived from 27,000 interrogations with more than 4,000 captured Taliban, Al Qaeda and other foreign fighters.

Abdul Basit, a foreign ministry spokesman, told the BBC the accusations were “ridiculous,” stating, “A stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in our own interests. We cannot indulge in any activity which takes us away from achieving that objective.”

The AFP reported that Pakistan’s alliance with the US and NATO has been shaky since air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in late November.

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The report, titled “The State of the Taliban 2012,” concludes that the Taliban’s strength and morale have survived NATO’s military surge largely intact, contradicting NATO’s official line that the movement has been severely damaged.

“Pakistan's manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly,” the report claimed, stating that Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, is “intimately involved” with efforts to destabilize President Hamid Karzai’s government, reported The Washington Post.

The report also said, of the Taliban’s influence, “Afghan civilians frequently prefer Taliban governance over the Afghan government, usually as a result of government corruption.”

Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, said, “The classified document in question is a compilation of Taliban detainee opinions. It's not an analysis, nor is it meant to be considered an analysis,” according to Reuters.

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Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar responded to reports of the leaked document from Kabul:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/120201/leaked-nato-report-says-taliban-backed-pakistans-