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Pakistan wants to see Taliban back in political fold: NYT

Pakistan wants to see Taliban back in political fold: NYT

Jun 17, 2017 - 13:36

KABUL (Pajhwok): A new US strategy, even with a troop surge, may not succeed in Afghanistan as long as Pakistan does not reduce support to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, an influential American newspaper reported on Friday.

An opinion piece in the New York Times justified America’s current harsh stance against Pakistan. It suggested a more coercive approach, slapping further conditions on assistance, imposing sanctions and listing Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism

The US provided Pakistan with over $30 billion since 2002 in counterterrorism aid. “To get Pakistan to alter its approach in Afghanistan, the United States must understand and address Pakistan’s strategic anxieties,” the article read.

Islamabad has long feared a scenario in which Afghanistan offers India a second base from which to squeeze Pakistan. Leaders in Islamabad also worry India’s support may embolden their counterparts in Kabul to forcefully challenge the validity of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and reassert Afghan claims on Pakistani territory.

India’s rising assistance -- economic and military, training and equipping Afghan security forces against the Taliban and development of Chahbahar port in Iran which will allow the landlocked country to connect to the rest of the world -- were listed as other Pakistani concerns.

According to the writers, Pakistan feels it is under threat and thus sees the Taliban as a check on Indian activity in Afghanistan and has doubled down on its efforts to counter deepening Afghan-India ties.

They say Pakistan wants a reconciliation process that ushers the Taliban back into the political fold in Afghanistan, without allowing the militants to control the country once again.