US leadership must assert clear role amidst Pak, Afghan's Taliban reconciliation efforts

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Washington, June 20 (ANI): Amidst reports of both Pakistan and Afghanistan being engaged in 'peace' talks with the Taliban, including with the dreaded Haqqani network, the US leadership must also assert a clear role and vision in the reconciliation process, noted South Asian affairs analyst Lisa Curtis has said.

Curtis, a senior research fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, said any genuine thaw in relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan would be welcome, however, the idea that the U.S. would take a back seat in any effort to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan defies logic.

"The U.S. has not lost over 1,000 U.S. soldiers in battle and invested billions of U.S. dollars in Afghanistan only to allow Pakistan to re-install its violent proxies there," Curtis noted.

She blamed the Obama administration policies for the Pakistan's attempt to pushing for a political settlement in Afghanistan that favours its proxy and the US' enemy, such as the Haqqani network, the Al-Qaeda-linked group which has constantly targeted America led foreign forces in war ravaged Afghanistan.

"The Obama administration's lack of a clear policy on reconciliation also is contributing to Karzai's flailing about on the issue. Karzai recently fired respected Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh over differences on the Taliban reconciliation issue," Curtis said.

"Senior administration officials (including Obama himself) have repeatedly said any reconciliation with the Taliban must be Afghan-led, and they have failed to assert a clear U.S. role and vision for this process," she added.

Curtis warned that if Washington fails to play a more 'direct role' in the reconciliation process, it risks squandering the entire situation in Afghanistan, which would then allow the country to return to extremist forces friendly to those who still intent on attacking the US. (ANI)

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