The Pakistanis strategic aims were to install a surrogate power for better depth on its western side and to prevent re-emergence of India as a significant presence there. The ISI became the designated medium and the Afghan Talibans its preferred instrument.
With the Soviets quitting Afghanistan, the tempo of terror operations in Afghanistan slackened but picked up in J&K. The LeT had been setting up camps with ISI support at a furious pace. Several thousands got trained in these camps in the succeeding years. As a result the number of incidents of violence in J&K soared from390 in 1988 to 2100 in 1989 to close to 4000 in 1990. It was evident that Pakistani aims of stirring up trouble in J&K were succeeding. This was the time (December 1989) when Pakistan chose to mount the military exercise Zarb-e-Momeen, with 200,000 troops and almost its entire air fleet and also sent Sahabzada Yakub Khan, its foreign minister, to intimidate India and demonstrate its single mindedness regarding a Kashmiri adventure. A US intervention in the shape of Robert Gates mission to Pakistan averted the worst case scenario.
After 12 years of hard fighting the Mujahidin were able to capture Kabul in 1992. Now started another season of scheming for the Pakistani ringmasters to get the Afghan Pashtuns re-establish themselves as the supreme power in Kabul and Afghanistan. The Pakistanis strategic aims were to install a surrogate power for better depth on its western side and to prevent re-emergence of India as a significant presence there. The ISI became the designated medium and the Afghan Talibans its preferred instrument.
In Pakistani assessment the Taliban were destined to return to governing Afghanistan. Through this low grade duplicity it wanted to keep the relationship warm for that day.
Following the Taliban’s success in carving out a new government in Afghanistan under Mullah Omar who chose Kandahar at his new capital, the ISI brought Omar and Osama bin Laden together, hoping they would join hands for operations in Kashmir. What emerged was a blueprint for a global Islamic jihad, in keeping with the dreams of Abdullah Azzam. Among the many schemes formulated by Bin Laden from Kandahar was the hijack of IC 814 in association with the ISI who arranged arms for the hijackers at Kathmandu and providing guidance through satellite telephony from Rawalpindi. Pakistan, Bin Laden and Omar were now in a new partnership, each infused with a pan Islamic idealism, Pakistan hoping to become the political leader of this pan Islam aim, Omar wanting to be its spiritual Emir-ul-Momineen, and Bin Laden aspiring to be the new pan Islamic ideologue.