US agrees to allow Haqqanis as part of Afghan talks
Islamabad: The US has taken Pakistan into confidence about involving the Haqqani network in the sustained “dialogue” on the Afghan peace process despite Pakistan-US ties suffering serious setbacks after the deadly November 26 airstrike.
Sources told the Express Tribune that the move comes in the wake of the Taliban’s announcement of opening a political office in Qatar to facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process.
The US’ move is in stark contrast to its earlier policy of resisting talks with the Haqqani network.
The US’ military establishment is now seeking to avoid any confrontation with the Haqqanis, saying that the group has a “pivotal role” in facilitating the Afghan peace process.
“They [Americans] are now following the same approach that we have been advocating for years,” a security official, requesting anonymity, told the Express Tribune.
The official added that Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had earlier told US President Barack Obama that talks with the Taliban was the only solution to the decade-old conflict in Afghanistan.
The Pakistan military had even urged the US to announce a ceasefire in Afghanistan creating “favourable conditions for talks with the insurgents”, the paper reported.
But the US initiated talks with the Taliban on its own without involving Pakistan in the process.
“The CIA had attempted to woo certain Taliban individuals but their efforts failed because those people had nothing to do with the Taliban,” defence analyst Brig (retd) Mehmood Shah said.
Shah also termed the opening of the Taliban office for facilitating the Afghan reconciliation process, a “positive development”.