'Pak govt's 'murky' motives over Taliban crackdown source of extreme tension for US'

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New York, Mar.25 (ANI): While Pakistan is seeking a stronger bond with the US through the recent change in its tactics which has seen several top Taliban commanders being nabbed, Islamabad's policy of supporting the US' mission in Afghanistan while simultaneously lending a 'covert' helping hand to the Taliban has become major irritant for American officials.

Pakistan's double game has been a source of extreme tension for US officials, who have been pressuring it to cut its ties with Taliban or at least close down terror safe havens set up on its soil, The New York Times reports.

US officials are also sceptical over the real motive behind Pakistan's sudden tactical change which has seen arrest of several top notch Taliban commanders, including the second-in command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

"The exact motives of the Pakistani government are murky. American officials say they are encouraged by some of the recent Pakistani actions-but not all of them," the newspaper said.

Observers and officials both in the US and Pakistan believe that Islamabad has arrested the Taliban's senior leaders to gain a measure of influence over any peace negotiations that may begin between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the paper pointed out.

According to Waheed Muzhda, a former Taliban official in Kabul, there are still many Taliban leaders hiding in Pakistan, but they have suddenly 'vanished'.

"There are signs that those Taliban leaders still at large are taking extreme precautions to avoid being detained. It is unclear whether the Taliban leaders have been arrested or whether they have gone into hiding, afraid that they will be," said Muzhda, who speaks regularly with Taliban leaders. (ANI)

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