Pak's double game on Afghanistan could backfire on it: Experts

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Toronto, Oct. 22 (ANI): Even as Washington ratchets up pressure on Pakistan to play a positive role in any future peace negotiations, experts are wary of Pakistan playing a double game, publicly supporting an end to the conflict in Afghanistan but ultimately undermining any kind of peace that interferes with the self-interest of some of its leaders.

They warn that such an act could in the ultimate analysis backfire on Pakistan, especially its military and intelligence establishment.

The Globe and Mail reports that some observers are saying that the current talks in Kabul between Taliban leaders, Karzai and NATo military representatives are being supported by Pakistan because it sees an opportunity to influence the outcome so as to increase its own regional power.

"The Pakistanis don't want to go back to the situation in the nineties where the Taliban were part of a rogue state and their influence was not recognized, because Afghanistan was not considered a real state. It was a major headache for them," said Gilles Dorronsoro, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

If the Taliban are ultimately successful, however, in assuming even limited political power in Kabul, the strategy could backfire on the Pakistanis, he warned.

"How will they keep their influence on the Taliban if there is no more fight and if the Taliban leadership returns to Afghanistan?" he asked.

Leslie H. Gelb of the Council on Foreign Relations said: "Their positions are totally at variance. Karzai, if he made a deal with the Taliban to share power, would be out of power. And the Taliban are not about to change their demand that NATO troops leave. On the basic issues, the two sides at this point have nothing to talk about."

Instead of supporting Karzai's conversations in Kabul, he said it is time for Washington and the rest of the West to take a much tougher line with Pakistan. (ANI)

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