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Report accuses Pakistan of aiding Taliban

Agents allegedly gave training, intelligence to insurgents fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

KABUL, Afghanistan - Pakistani intelligence agents and paramilitary forces have helped train Taliban insurgents and have given them information about American troop movements in Afghanistan, according to a report published yesterday by a U.S. think tank.

The RAND Corp. study also warned that the United States will face "crippling, long-term consequences" in Afghanistan if Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan are not eliminated.

It echoes recent statements by American generals, who have increased their warnings that militant safe havens in Pakistan are threatening efforts in Afghanistan. The study was funded by the U.S. Defense Department.

"Every successful insurgency in Afghanistan since 1979 enjoyed safe haven in neighboring countries, and the current insurgency is no different," said the report's author, Seth Jones.

Pakistan's top military spokesman rejected the findings.

The study, "Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan," found some active and former officials in Pakistan's intelligence service and the Frontier Corps - a Pakistani paramilitary force deployed along the Afghan border - provided direct assistance to Taliban militants and helped secure medical care for wounded fighters.

It said NATO officials have uncovered several instances of Pakistani intelligence agents providing information to Taliban fighters, even "tipping off Taliban forces about the location and movement of Afghan and coalition forces, which undermined several U.S. and NATO anti-Taliban military operations."

No time frames were given.

The report said Pakistan's intelligence service and other government agencies provided Taliban and other insurgents with training at camps in Pakistan, as well as intelligence, financial assistance, and help crossing the border.

Afghan intelligence officials say young, uneducated males are recruited in the border tribal areas to become suicide bombers and fighters. After battles or attacks in Afghanistan, militants flow back into Pakistan to rest and rearm, officials say.

Pakistan - which supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks - denied it was supporting the insurgents but acknowledged the problem of militant infiltration.

"Whenever these kinds of places are identified or pointed out," said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, a Pakistan military spokesman, "action is taken against these places and there are umpteen examples in the past where the actions have been taken against these insurgents, or, for that matter, foreigners."

Lawyers Protest in Pakistan: 'Go, Musharraf, Go!'

Lawyers rallied

against President Pervez Musharraf across Pakistan yesterday, burning him in effigy, calling for his ouster and demanding the reinstatement of judges in the kickoff of a campaign that could strain the shaky coalition government.

About 4,000

activists massed in Karachi yesterday to castigate

the president. They chanted "Go, Musharraf, go!" and "Musharraf is an American dog!"

The gathering

was one

of many in major cities that heralded a "Long March" to the capital, Islamabad, later this week, culminating in a sit-in outside Parliament.

The two main groups

in the ruling coalition - the Pakistan Peoples Party of Asif Ali Zardari and the Pakistan Muslim League-N of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - have failed to resolve differences over reinstating judges fired by Musharraf last fall.

Musharraf ousted


of judges during several weeks of emergency rule he imposed while facing legal challenges to his reelection as president by the previous parliament, which was dominated by his supporters.

- Associated Press