Pak 'hedging bets' on Haqqanis following US' 'dithering' over Afghanistan

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New York, June 29 (ANI): The persisting ambiguity over the US' decision to pull out of Afghanistan has encouraged Pakistan and its all powerful intelligence, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), to continue supporting militant groups like the Haqqani network and "hedge their bets", a senior American intelligence official has said.

"They've been burned and they've seen this movie before," The New York Times quoted the official, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, as saying.

President Barack Obama's decision to replace Afghan war commander General Stanley McChrystal with Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General David Petraeus has sent multiple signals regarding his plans of moving out of Afghanistan.

Last December, while ordering 30,000 additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan, Obama had said that the Americans would start to pull out after 18 months, however, the recent developments have added to the ambiguity surrounding the nine year old struggle.

While US military and intelligence officials argue that the deadline of pullout have made the Afghans less determined to fight the Taliban and other extremists, Obama's Democratic allies in Congress, on the other hand, are pressing him to make sure that July 2011 begins a "serious drawdown," the paper reports.

House leaders also want to pass a war spending measure before the ongoing session ends. The liberal lawmakers hope to use the bill to force conditions for scaling back the American military commitments across the world.

On the other hand, the Obama administration maintains that the July 2011 deadline was intentionally flexible, but it also had some 'desired' effect.

"We want the Afghans to understand that we're going to be expecting more out of them, so to the extent that it conveys a sense of urgency, that's an important message," said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser.

Rhodes also noted that the president had not decided how quickly the "drawdown" would take place.

"There's clearly going to be an enduring commitment to Afghanistan past 2011, whatever the slope," he said.

Meanwhile, in Washington debate rages on whether Obama's announcement of a pull out date is justified, with some officials saying the Taliban is effectively using the deadline to its advantage.

Republican Senator John McCain also highlighted that Afghan President Hamid Karzai's defiance against Washington was particularly because of the deadline.

"A lot of the behavior that Karzai is displaying, a lot of the things that are going on right now are a direct result of the president's commitment to beginning withdrawal," McCain said. (ANI)

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