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The Haqqani Network Mystery

by Newsweek Pakistan

Jalaluddin Haqqani. AFP

Is Pakistan actually sheltering the militant group on its soil?

The refrain from the United States is that Pakistan ignores/supports safe havens on its soil from where the Haqqani Network attacks cities in Afghanistan. In a recent statement, a State Department spokesman says: “We have consistently expressed our concerns to the highest levels of the Government of Pakistan about their continued tolerance for Afghan Taliban groups such as the Haqqani Network operating from Pakistan soil.”

Pakistan says there are no safe havens for terrorists in the country. However, prior to the launch of the military’s anti-Taliban Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the Haqqanis were in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas and some contacts that they had with the Pakistani establishment—as made public in the media—were hardly reassuring. Is Pakistan telling the truth when it claims that all terrorists attacking across the Durand Line have fled into Afghanistan?

There was a time when Pakistan was seen to be playing a double game, running a parallel policy to the one adopted by ally America, mainly to counter the growing clout of India in the country’s west. The Haqqanis were even present in Islamabad until one member of the ruling family was killed to signal to the world the truth about Pakistan’s avowals of non-involvement in terrorism.

Pakistan’s offer of securing the Durand Line boundary against alleged infiltration has been rejected by the Kabul government. Its President Ashraf Ghani is more inclined to lean on India as he sees American interest receding from his country. He also ignores Pakistani claims that the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, might be using terrorists hiding in Afghanistan against Pakistan. As an Islamabad spokesman pointed out recently: “Eight senior commanders and leaders of the Haqqani Network, Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jamaatul Ahrar were killed in Afghanistan since July this year. This confirms the presence and use of Afghan soil by these groups for terrorist activities.”

Pakistan’s isolation is owed to its inability, or perhaps unwillingness, to eliminate from its soil organizations declared terrorist by the United Nations. If Islamabad’s internal dilemmas cannot be resolved, it will inevitably be left out of the loop as the global change of power relations in the region continues.

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OB December 9, 2016 - 8:53 pm

Involve India and Pakistan will never cooperate. Common sense. Indian involvement in Afghanistan gives Pakistan a reason to keep a proxy in Afghanistan. Disconnect India and Afghanistan and Pakistan will not need Haqqani’s any more. Pakistan recently arrested Commander Kulbashan Jadev of Indian navy in Balochistan. Another reason for Pakistan to not cooperate.

RF December 10, 2016 - 1:20 am

Its sad that a respectable weekly still warped in time and still resonating old Indian sponsored “Terrorist Pakistan” mantra. If Pakistan was harboring the dreaded Haqqanis then how come most of the Haqqani terrorists are killed in Afghanistan? If US was SO against the madmen of Haqqanis then how come they always encouraged the slippery afghans governments to destroy the border management systems and electrical fences along the Pak-Afghan border?. And to top it all : Why havent US not moved against Qatar, which operates a fully recognized Taliban offices on its soil for last 8 years? US still does not want to recognize that more Pakistani citizens and soldiers are killed by these terrorists than that of the whole of western allies combined; although the world have come around to this conclusion since 2008. US can continue to harp that Pakistan is harboring terrorists but the truth is that US have miserably failed to control and bring sanity to the terrorist society of Afghanistan and now, just like so many of us, using alibi and putting the blame on Pakistan for its incompetence and inaptness. US administrations had multiple great opportunities to bring peace to Afghanistan, secure the afghan borders and destroy the sanctuaries in Afghanistan but driven by myopic economic gains, mostly propagated by the Indian diaspora, both the executive and legislative arms of US have squandered these opportunities. Look now what US find itself in? Pakistan, after being bitten for 2 decades by broken US promises, have finally moved into Russia China camp and no longer cares about what US thinks. The last line of this article should read “If US does not act to help and support the strategic links with Pakistan, it(USA) will inevitably be left out of the loop as the global change of power relations in the region”.


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