Washington: After lauding Pakistan for nabbing the Taliban’s second-in command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the international community has now started raising questions over Islamabad’s sudden change of tactics and motives behind arresting the top extremist leader.
An editorial in The Boston Globe cited that Pakistan was worried about the prospects of an agreement between Taliban and the Afghan government, and this was the primary reason behind Baradar’s arrest.
The newspaper said that the Pakistani leadership is worried over Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s move for seeking reconciliation with the Taliban, which would prevent Islamabad from establishing its influence in the war-ravaged country.
“An agreement between the Taliban and the Karzai government could deprive Pakistan of influence in next-door Afghanistan. That prospect disturbs Pakistani leaders, who have long tried to maximize their power in Afghanistan to keep it from linking up with Pakistan’s rival, India,” the editorial said.
“Pakistan’s powerful Army Chief, General Ashraf Kayani, recently said his country has ‘opened all doors’ to co-operation with the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. But he warned that Pakistan’s ``strategic paradigm has to be realised’ in Afghanistan. He meant a post-war Afghan government friendly to Pakistan and resistant to India,” it added.
Blaming Pakistan for giving birth to the Taliban in the mid-90s, the editorial underlined that it would prove costly for Islamabad if it tries to disturb the peace negotiations between the banned extremist outfit and the Afghan government.
It said that US President Barack Obama must step in and warn Pakistan against hindering the peace process.
“US military commanders in Afghanistan have wisely insisted that the war be concluded by political means. The current troop surge is aimed at convincing insurgent factions to seek a peace deal with the Afghan government. So President Obama needs to warn Pakistan that true co-operation means helping, not hindering, such an agreement,” the editorial concluded.