The explosive accusations of ISI efforts to keep Taliban commanders on the battlefield are the strongest yet in a series of U.S. criticisms of Pakistan, and show a deteriorating relationship with an essential ally. The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in military and development aid to Pakistan in return for its support for the Afghan war and its own fight against extremists; the reports suggest some Pakistani officials are undermining that strategy.

The Taliban commander in Kunar, like others interviewed in recent days, said he remained opposed to the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan and had no plans to stop fighting them. But “the ISI wants us to kill everyone—policemen, soldiers, engineers, teachers, civilians—just to intimidate people,” the commander said…

U.S. officials say Pakistani pressure on midlevel Taliban leaders is part of Islamabad’s effort to make sure it has significant leverage in peace efforts.

Those efforts range from the U.S.-backed strategy to woo the Taliban rank-and-file to attempts by the Afghan government to open high-level talks with the insurgency’s leadership.