Pakistan views Afghanistan’s Taliban as ‘relatively friendly’ — US report

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KABUL (TCA) — Pakistan continues to view the Afghan Taliban as “a relatively friendly and reliably anti-India element in Afghanistan”, according to a US Congressional Research Service report titled “Afghanistan: Background and US Policy in Brief”, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.

The CRS is a federal agency within the US Library of Congress that provides reports to aid US lawmakers and the legislative process. The report, which was updated early this month, says that “Regional dynamics, and the involvement of outside powers, are central to the conflict in Afghanistan. The neighboring state widely considered most important in this regard is Pakistan, which has played an active, and by many accounts negative, role in Afghan affairs for decades.”

Pakistan’s security organizations “maintain ties” to Afghan insurgent groups, including the Haqqani Network, “a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) that has become an official, semiautonomous component of the Taliban,” the report said.

Pakistan “apparently continues to view the Afghan Taliban as a relatively friendly and reliably anti-India element in Afghanistan,” the report mentioned, explaining that “Pakistani fears of encirclement” are due to “India’s diplomatic and commercial presence in Afghanistan—and US rhetorical support for it.”

The report also said that “Afghan leaders, along with US military commanders, attribute much of the insurgency’s (Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network, others) power and longevity either directly or indirectly to Pakistani support” and quoted President Trump who accused Pakistan of “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.”

US officials, the report claimed, have “long identified” that safe havens for militant groups in Pakistan are a threat to Afghanistan, despite Pakistani officials who “dispute that charge.”

Sergey Kwan

TCA