Who is responsible for financing terrorism in Pakistan?
The United States squarely puts the blame for the failure of the War on Terror and anything related to the Taliban and the Al Qaeda on Pakistan. Unfortunately the bubble is blown by none other than a US congressman. Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher claimed "The Taliban was a construct of the CIA and was armed by the CIA” . Let’s explore how far this is true.
In a 1998 interview, Zbigniew Brezinski, Carter's national security adviser admitted that U.S. aid to the Mujahideen factions began before the December 1979 invasion and played a role in inviting the Russians into the region. The entire plan had been to trap the Russians in Afghanistan and use factions such as the Taliban to fight their war for them. According to Brezinski the first ruling for secret aid to the mujahideen came on July 3, 1979 under President Carter himself . Soon after that an American delegation was sent to Pakistan to use it as a puppet to fight their war against the Soviets for them. Pakistan took almost all the losses for the war and the blame for arming the Taliban which could never have been possible without American financing and naturally when the war was over so was the assistance that Pakistan had been promised by the United States. Today Pakistan faces the fallout of what happened back then in the face of a raging insurgency fuelled further by the American presence in Afghanistan that has killed over 35000 Pakistanis with over 40000 Pakistanis grievously wounded .
Certain media outlets are telling the World that Pakistan is receiving ‘huge amounts of aid’ and may be supporting the militants to milk that aid. However they aren’t telling the World about the losses Pakistan has suffered. According to Pakistan’s Interior Ministry the damage caused to the Nation in the loss of infrastructure and life was $35 Billion up to July 2009. This was based on a conservative estimate but for lack of other figures we will use this. Since there has been no real let up in the violence from that period the current estimates put the damage to well over $42 Billion in return for a meagre and reluctant American compensation. The exact figure of aid is still unknown and various estimates put it from 4 Billion to 17 Billion. So from being in the War on Terror Pakistan is already at a loss financially without counting the loss in investment and the loss of developing markets for Pakistani exporters. Recent figures from 2011 have even more grim data: Pakistan has suffered losses of $68 Billion since the beginning of this war. 
In any case to have caused such much major damage the Tehreek E Taliban would need to be exceptionally well organized, very well armed and extremely well funded. The well funded and well armed bit specially stands surprisingly true since around 86% of the Taliban have never gone to a college or university before and 40% have only studied till Matric (About 9th grade) or even less  (This particular piece of statistic is still preliminary and its reliability is slightly in doubt due to the impossibility of finding the educational qualifications of every Taliban militant much less calculating a percentage but looking at the Pakistani scenario they are thought to be possibly somewhere around the truth). Most of the Taliban soldiers are completely illiterate and can barely sign their names on a piece of paper. The riddle of where the money may be coming from in a country where about 70% of the population lives below $2 a day or even how the major commanders seem to have evaded capture every time Pakistan launches an operation still remains unsolved.
To give the Taliban their due however they have indeed developed a source of funding in Pakistan over time. According to analysts the primary known sources of the Taliban’s wealth are donations from its sympathizers, looting of supply convoys, kidnap for ransom and extortion of protection money. Recent reports indicate that Taliban are even involved in bank robberies in major Pakistani cities such as Karachi while it has also been speculated that a great deal of the poppy growth cultivation in Afghanistan directly benefits the Pakistani Taliban. According to the past governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this reserve seems to be increasing by approximately $45 Million annually. This in itself is a large figure. In fact it is actually just about half of what the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has been capable of spending on the war on terror. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government spent about $89.5 Million on law and order according to the 2009-10 National budget. 
According to analysts the Taliban has also accumulated around $250-400 Million of wealth over time. Therefore the word that the Taliban is operating its own government with its own standing finances stands correct. 
If any further evidence of this is required, according to a report from Dawn a single Pakistani police constable makes about $80 a month while a Taliban foot soldier in Pakistan makes $170 per month. Even in death the government cannot match up to the Taliban. The heir of a dead policeman receives about $6000 while a suicide bombers family is often given sums of over $20000 . The total number of Taliban troops and terrorists associated with other radical organizations operating under the umbrella of the Tehreek E Taliban Pakistan is 35,000. Using the figures and multiplying the yearly expenditure of the Taliban on salaries for its fighters and compensation for the families of suicide bombers the figures add to $72 Million. This is more than the $45 Million they are earning.
Given that the organization has spent approximately $72 Million of its wealth to pay their bombers and their foot soldiers it still leaves the question of acquisition of arms, weaponry and other expenses for its fighters. If that isn’t enough to prove that the Taliban is a power to be reckoned with even bolder is the announcement of Hakeemullah Mahsud, the Taliban commander that the Taliban can give $20 Million in aid to the government to provide for the flood victims of Pakistan if the American aid for the floods is rejected.
It is certainly clear that the Taliban is earning more than $45 Million annually and that money is not enough to maintain the group’s terrorist activities. It is also clear that to spend $72 Million yearly they would have to have another income source. This definitely means that either someone from outside is supporting the Taliban or the Taliban have even more sources of income that have not come under the scrutiny of Pakistani analysts and officials.
Pakistan becomes a punching bag: Blaming the ISI
The ISI has been the target of the blame for the monster we face today. Many writers and journalists even within Pakistan have begun taking a page from the American media and questioning whether it is certain Pakistani generals and the ISI secretly supplying the terrorists. The question is could this be true today and if so have these same generals or the ISI actually benefitted from the current situation of Pakistan?
Even if the claim that sympathetic generals within the army are supporting the insurgents holds true the question still remains how can the insurgent’s have estimated wealth reserves of around$250-400 Million when it comprises of a group of ragtag and illiterate men, most of whom cannot read a single passage in any language. If the ISI is responsible, as the US and Indian media would have us believe, well then it’s for sure that the agencies entire staff’s salary is being handed over to the Taliban for the group’s sustenance while the agencies own agents and operatives are going home without their salaries. Not to say they are perfectly happy with the murder of their own fellow countrymen by the Taliban. The funds available to the ISI are classified but for an impoverished country like Pakistan some analysts suggest it is $250 Million (This figure is dubious and questionable).
Nonetheless ‘rogue agents’ from the ISI are the focus of the blame in today's World. However a look at how the ISI has taken losses and suffered might make those thinking along such lines reconsider. A small count of the attacks on the ISI in the country will reveal:
-The attack in Multan on the ISI building kills 8. 
-The attack in Peshawar on the ISI kills around 10. 
-ISI provincial headquarters in Lahore attacked on 28th May killing 35 and wounding over 300. 
-The brutal murder of 2 main ISI agents Khalid Khwaja and Colonel Imam by the Taliban, the two very same people often blamed for supporting the Taliban were killed by the very people the media alleged they were supporting. 
-The very recent bombing of the ISI building in Faisalabad. 
This proves that ISI has severely been targeted in the war and is losing both men and suffering severe financial losses in the War on Terror. These are some of the bomb attacks that are known but there are more deaths in the Tribal Areas that are going unaccounted for by the media.
According to an unnamed official many agents and operatives have been sent to the North and South Waziristan region to collect intelligence and have wound up dead. The ISI keeps mum about its losses officially which sometimes makes it hard for people to understand that it has also taken losses in this war.
If the losses are compared to other intelligence agencies the results are strikingly different. Well known CIA operations remain intact in Afghanistan and it’s a surprise that the militants would so selectively attack the locations of the countries intelligence agencies and that also with absolute impunity. What is even more surprising is that many ordinary citizens of Pakistan do not know the locations of the ISI, yet the Taliban have attacked their headquarters in almost every major city.
Another whipping boy? The Pakistani Military
The military has suffered even more financial loss than the ISI. No doubt much of the American aid and assistance is militaristic in nature and ends up in the hands of the Pakistan army however on the other hand this same institution is the primary loser in the violence that has gripped the country.
Asad Khalil a self styled analyst who is trying to get a hold on the real figure on army losses both in terms of finances and personnel claims that the army has suffered at least $7 Billion in losses in the war on terror. If so even the army is losing more financially than it is gaining.
Furthermore no matter how much the army is blamed for the mistakes of the past, including Pakistan’s role in the Afghan civil war, it is clear that the Military could not have dreamed of facing the Soviets without US support, $4 Billion of US assistance was handed over to the militants which have matured into the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Would it be sensible for Pakistan to face a superpower of that time such as the Soviets without support and would our leadership have taken the same decision if an American delegation had not come up and demanded help against the Soviets? So perhaps the United States is more to blame for the creation of terrorists.
Foreign Support to the Taliban?
When it comes to certain Right Wing media groups they have continuously stood up and taken every opportunity to say that terrorism is being sponsored by various intelligence agencies of certain countries that are against the ideal of Pakistan. However proof in this case counts. Our analysis reveals that the Taliban is gaining support from someone. Finding out who is the real issue.
The United States has sometimes been blamed for both directly or indirectly supporting terrorism in Pakistan but there has been no real official claim and nothing recorded from an official source. One thing frustrating the Pakistani Military today is its inability to monitor the activities of the CIA which has been blamed for sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan. Unfortunately for USA and fortunately for the Pakistanis the country woke up from its slumber when a man operating in Pakistan as Raymond Davis murdered two Pakistanis on the streets of Lahore in broad daylight. That’s when reports of contacts on his cell phone came up, the gadgets in his car and photographs from his camera containing sensitive locations. There were 33 calls on his cell phone of which 27 were to known or suspected militants. This is confirmed knowledge from the police and is suspicious activity. 
According to Shakil Ahmed a journalist, Davis was only one of 1200 Blackwater agents spread out across the country . Some police officials from Lahore further backed up these claims and even went further claiming he had close links to militants and was instrumental in recruiting youth for the terrorists. Furthermore the ISI which according to the agreement with USA, which allows agents on its territory, is to keep tabs on all CIA agents present in the country but does not have Davis in its records.
Many people believe it was unfortunate what happened that day but perhaps it was lucky as it allowed Pakistanis to understand that there is perhaps another angle to look at things from.
India has also been blamed and in this case rare politicians, or media channels supporting claims of Indian support to the terrorists have come up. An article in late 2009 appeared claiming India was supporting terrorism in Pakistan and had funnelled $650 Million to the Taliban insurgents in Pakistan, a fact which was revealed by three captured militants themselves. In October 2009 Rehman Malik claimed India was supporting the Taliban and Pakistan was ready to confront India with evidence. 
Another video appeared on the internet briefly where a militant commander admits to have been paid by India to fuel sectarianism in Pakistan on the television screen. Also after the Sri Lankan cricket team attack a report was made public that had been received by the local police in Lahore. This report can be seen here.
It is also imminent to mention here that India has four consulates in Afghanistan. This is more than the number of consulates a country would want to have in such an impoverished country. What is most alarming for Pakistan is that three of these consulates are right across the border. India has continuously been blamed for fomenting unrest in Baluchistan as well.
Nonetheless though the more patriotic men and women of Pakistan are prepared to believe these reports and are eager to find out just what exactly they are facing in the shape of an extremely powerful, never ending, well-financed insurgency Liberals are unlikely to give much attention to news of foreign aid to the Taliban unless confronted with some extraordinary proof which has so far not come.
How plausible is this theory?
The grim reality is that the Taliban is both earning and spending much more than was initially believed. It is difficult to make judgements about who is supporting them. However someone has to find out from where that money is actually coming. Pakistanis after all these years deserve to know how the Taliban have not just survived but thrived in Pakistan and are able to murder Pakistanis in weekly bombings.
The natural suspicion is going to fall on the ISI Internationally unless and until Pakistan can find proper proof about foreign support to the Taliban, proof that can be presented to the United Nations. Furthermore it is necessary to cut the militants funding more than anything else. Capturing top Militant Commanders can also reveal the terrorists finances and their support structure which is crucial to ensure their defeat. There may be many hidden hands supporting the militants. Not to say these hidden hands have to be foreign intelligence services. They can also be powerful businessmen with militant links. Only the top management of the Taliban can explain where their finances come from. Capturing them is vital.
 Dana Rohrabacher, in a speech.
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Cited: CRG -- The CIA's Intervention in Afghanistan
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Cited: BBC News - Pakistan spy agency office attacked in Multan
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Cited: Lahore Blast: Police Building, ISI Premises Targeted | Chowrangi
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Cited: Taliban claim deadly Faisalabad blast, target Pakistani intelligence - The Long War Journal
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Cited: How the CIA created Osama bin Laden | Green Left Weekly
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Cited: Indian RAW funded Swat terrorists:$650 million to destabilize Pakistan | Pakalert Press
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