`Pak Army, ISI complicit in backing terrorists’
Washington: Asserting that America`s soft policy with Pakistan with regard to terrorist sanctuaries has failed, an influential US lawmaker has said that there is no doubt that the Pakistan Army and the ISI are complicit in supporting terrorist safe havens.
"To succeed in Afghanistan, something must be done about the sanctuaries. A few points of emphasis: We lack a regional strategy for South Asia, which Afghanistan and Pakistan are an important part," Gen (Retd) John Keane told US lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.
"We must recognise our soft policy with Pakistan as it pertains to the sanctuaries has failed. There is no doubt that General (Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani and Lt General (Ahmeda Shuja) Pasha, the chief of staff and the director of ISI are complicit in supporting the sanctuaries," he said.
"We need a new approach diplomatically that recognises their manipulation of the United States government and frankly, how destructive the military oligarchy is to the future growth and development of Pakistan," Keane said.
"We all know that the Pakistanis are paranoid about their political and competitive struggle with India, but we should recognise that the Pakistanis have clearly lost. India is a democracy which is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and Pakistan is moving in the opposite direction," he said at the Congressional hearing on Afghanistan convened by the House Armed Services Committee.
"And moreover, in reference to the sanctuaries, we must consider covert and overt military options against the sanctuaries. It should be on the table," he argued.
"I think this whole thing with Pakistan, as I mentioned in my remarks, has got to be relooked because our current policy has not succeeded and those sanctuaries, as they currently exist, do protract the war and put us in a situation of unacceptable risk, in my mind, as we continue to move towards 2014," he said in response to a question.
Lt Gen (Retd) David Barno said that the new approach to Pakistan of putting everything on a transactional basis, you get this money only if you do something, is the only way to deal with them.
"They need that money for their lifestyles. So we have more leverage than we think we have," he said in response to a question.
"I think that fight in the mountains with Pakistan is going to just go on and on and on, but the Taliban have very rudimentary weapons. I noticed that Pakistan hasn`t been foolish enough to give them modern weapons. So you could see the border, in the mountains, ending up a mess for a long, long time, but you still could have some relative stability in Afghanistan," he said.