Terror safe havens in Pak undermine Afghan security: US

The US has said that Islamabad continues to tolerate and abet insurgency in the war-torn country.

Updated: Oct 29, 2011, 15:39 PM IST

Washington: Slamming Pakistan`s dubious role
in Afghanistan, the US has said that Islamabad continues to
tolerate and abet insurgency in the war-torn country,
particularly the Haqqani terror network, with an aim to see a
friendly government in Kabul with limited Indian influence.

"Pakistan`s selective counter-insurgency operations,
passive acceptance -- and in some cases provision -- of
insurgent safe havens, and unwillingness to interdict material
such as IED components, continue to undermine security in
Afghanistan and threaten ISAF`s (International Security
Assistance Force`s) campaign," the Pentagon said.

In a 138-page six-monthly report to the US Congress on
the progress being made in Afghanistan in the war against
terror, it acknowledged that there is strain in the
relationship with Islamabad.

Overall, Pakistan continues to seek a government in
Afghanistan friendly to it with limited Indian influence, and
a political settlement that enables pro-Pakistani Pashtun
power brokers to participate in provincial and national
government, it said.

In its first report on Afghanistan sent to the Congress
after Leon Panetta took over as Defence Secretary, the
Pentagon said Pakistan continues to tolerate and abet the
insurgency in Afghanistan, particularly the Haqqani network.

"Enabled by safe havens inside Pakistan, the insurgency
remains resilient with a notable operational capacity, as
reflected in isolated high-profile attacks in Kabul and
sustained violence levels in eastern Afghanistan," the report
said.

Though recent meetings between Afghan and Pakistani
officials continue to seek common ground of cooperation in the
aftermath of US withdrawal, the Pentagon said, however,
mistrust, long-standing tensions and divergent strategic
interest will continue to make genuine cooperation between
Afghanistan and Pakistan difficult.

"Pakistan has long judged that the United States would
withdraw from Afghanistan before achieving political
stability, leaving Pakistan with either an unstable
Afghanistan or an Indian `proxy` on its borders. Nor does
Islamabad see a sustained US presence in Afghanistan as a
preferable alternative over the long term," the report said.

"As a result, Pakistan seeks to play a dominant role in
the peace and reconciliation process. However, early trends
suggests that Pakistan is not prepared to deliver on the
expectations established in bilateral and multilateral
discussions on reconciliation," the Pentagon said.

Pakistan does not want to undermine its influence in a
post-US withdrawal scenario by advancing negotiations on terms
that are not assured to protect its interest, said the
Pentagon report.

As a result of its shared border with Afghanistan, its
status as a nuclear power, and its role as a partner in the
shared fight against al Qaeda and violent extremism, Pakistan
remains a state of central importance in South Asia, it noted.

PTI