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The semi-comforting belief that only “rogue elements” in the ISI have close connections to the Taliban never had much basis in fact and it has less now. A senior al-Qaeda commander in Kunar province (in the wild north-east of the country) says: “Pakistan knows everything. They control everything. I can’t [expletive] on a tree in Kunar without them watching. The Taliban are not Islam. The Taliban are Islamabad.”