Great Pressure on Insurgents As Washington Toughens Pakistan Policy

khalilzad-14-july-16

As Washington piles increased pressure on Pakistan over its controversial role on combating terrorism, political commentators have asked Islamabad to end its support for insurgents so as to avoid international isolation.

On Thursday, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) again called on insurgent groups, including the Taliban, to lay down arms and join peace process. He vowed strong reaction if the insurgents persist on continuing the war.

“They (the Taliban) must endorse peace with the government of Afghanistan and return to their country, otherwise they will be eliminated. Pakistan has to do the same as it is facing isolation,” a defense ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.

“The United States regards the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization. One of our former chairmen of the joint chiefs called it a virtual arm of the ISI. It is also clear that the Pakistani military and Pakistani intelligence provide sanctuary and support for the Taliban, an extremist organization that provided sanctuary to Al-Qaeda in the early period,” former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Zalmai Khalilzad, said.

Kabul still insists on convincing Pakistan to avoid distinction between the terrorists.

“The global consensus is that the government of Afghanistan and its people have full legitimacy,” said Sayed Zafar Hashemi, deputy presidential spokesman.

Washington has of late been taking a tougher stance on Pakistan over that country’s counter-terrorism policy.

Washington has warned Pakistan of harmful consequences unless it takes the needed steps and stop supporting terrorism.

“The U.S has now decided to increase pressure on Pakistan to convince Pakistan that it cannot longer deceive the world by pursuing double standard policies, if Pakistan does not act, undoubtedly, it will be the second North Korea,” political analyst Haroon Mir said.

CIA director John Brennan Thursday said that the next U.S president will continue to support air strikes against militants without consulting any world leaders, including Pakistani leaders.

He said that the Taliban and its brutal offshoot, the Haqqani network, continue to wage war in Afghanistan.

Speaking to participants at the Brookings Institute in Washington, Brennan said that the air strikes were key to repressing the insurgents on the battlefields. He added that the killing of former Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was an intentional decision.

“The Taliban, in particular its sub-group, the Haqqanis, have been determined and continue to carry out attacks. They have at times also been successful against US personnel inside of Afghanistan. The president (Barack Obama) has emphasized many times that he is going to do what was necessary to protect the security of the Americans both here and abroad, and so the decision was made,” said CIA chief Brennan.

Amid new developments, there are some rumors that division between Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada and his deputies have increased in recent weeks.

“There are tensions between Haqqani and Hibatullah and the clashes in various regions indicate that Afghanistan is implementing the right security strategy in line with the current policies. Pakistan, on the other hand, has no option except going to isolation,” former minister of interior Mujtaba Patang said.

The US congressional committee on foreign relations has also called for a ban on sanctuaries for terrorists under the protection of the Pakistani military.

The congressional committee has said that Pakistan must be added to the list of state sponsor of terrorism if it did not stop supporting terrorism.

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