Pak facilitating Afghan-Taliban secret meetings for own strategic advantage: Editorial

Islamabad, Nov 2(ANI): Pakistan would be facilitating secret meetings between Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Taliban leaders to take the heat off itself without having to launch a full-scale offensive against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan, an editorial in a leading Pakistani newspaper has said.

The editorial comes after Karzai held a secret meeting with three Taliban leaders in an effort to weaken the Haqqani network.

The meeting, held in Kabul two weeks ago to contain the network, was attended by Maulvi Abdul Kabir, a wanted former Taliban governor, his deputy Sedre Azam and Anwarul Haq Mujahed, an imprisoned terrorist, who were flown to the Afghan capital from Peshawar.

"Why should Pakistan allow this to happen, when one considers the lengths our establishment has gone to nurture the Afghan Taliban? Although in the murky world of intelligence things are unpredictable, it may be ventured that the Pakistan establishment may be investing in the virtue of patience for its ultimate goal," the editorial said.

"In the past, we may have trumpeted high hopes of an all-Taliban government in post-US Afghanistan, but US pressure for an operation in North Waziristan and our own fight against the local Taliban may have lowered the establishment's aims."

"Making it clear that it expects to be centre-stage in any Afghan talks, Pakistan may very well facilitate this kind of tribal fractioning to take the heat off itself without having to launch a full-scale offensive in NW," it added.

The editorial further said that when the US leaves Afghanistan, the Taliban could be used to tackle an Afghan government.

"The Pakistan Army is not about to abandon the strategic advantage it has been trying to cultivate in Afghanistan; this could just be yet another ambiguous policy," the editorial said.

Jalaluddin Haqqani, a commander in the 1980s Afghan war against the Soviets, leads the Haqqani movement.

The network, based in the North Waziristan's tribal area along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, is thought to present one of the biggest threats to NATO and US forces in Afghanistan.

It maintains old links with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. (ANI)

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