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`ISI wants Taliban to keep India out of Kabul`

Pakistan`s ISI wants the Taliban to be influential enough within the Afghan government.



Washington: Pakistan`s ISI wants the Taliban to be influential enough within the Afghan government so that it can keep India out of Afghanistan, an influential American think tank has said.

James Dobbins from the RAND Corporation and his colleagues recently visited Pakistan and interacted with the official of the Inter-Services Intelligence.

"What the Pakistanis told us when we were in Islamabad -- and we met with the ISI as well as the civilian leadership -- which is that they share our interest in bringing peace, that they want the Afghan Taliban out of Pakistan and back into Afghanistan but not in a position of dominating the country," Dobbins said.

They recognise that having a Taliban-dominated government in Kabul would just open the way to a replication of what they experienced in 2001, he said at an event organised by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

"But they would like the Taliban sufficiently influential within the Afghan government so that, on the one hand, they have an incentive to get out of Pakistan and stop interfering in Pakistan.”

".... and, secondly, that they preserve Pakistani interests in Afghanistan, the principal interest of which is to keep the Indian secret service away from the Pakistani border and away from dissident elements within Pakistan whom they believe the Indians are currently assisting, particularly in Baluchistan," Dobbins said.

"The other narrative is that they want a sympathetic force to dominate the government of Afghanistan, for the same reason: to prevent it from becoming allied with India, which has far more to offer Afghanistan in terms of economic assistance and commerce, and that they`re going to continue to support the Taliban with that kind of outcome in view, that they believe we`re leaving, that they believe the situation will revert to what they found in the 1990s, and that they have the possibility of again putting their clients in power in Kabul and in most of the rest of the country," he said, referring to the interaction he and his other colleagues had with officials and experts in Pakistan.

PTI

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