News / Asia

Skepticism Remains on Pakistani Anti-Taliban Efforts

The U.S. offensive in the Afghan town of Marjah coincides with new Pakistani moves against Afghan Taliban figures, which U.S. officials say aids counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan.  But there is still skepticism about Islamabad's depth of commitment to rooting out the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan.

Afghan Taliban leaders have been using Pakistani territory as a sanctuary and staging ground from which to attack NATO forces in Afghanistan.  U.S. officials have long asserted that operations in Kandahar and Helmand Province, where Marjah is located, are directed from the Pakistani city of Quetta.  

Former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, who chaired the Obama administration's Afghan policy review, said as recently as last year Pakistani officials continued to deny the presence of Afghan Taliban figures on their soil.

"When I was chairing the strategic review this month a year ago we asked the Pakistanis at the highest levels, 'Are there any Taliban leaders in Pakistan?'  And from the highest levels on down they were adamant, 'There are no Taliban leaders in Pakistan, if you have information give it to us.'  Well, we finally called their bluff," Riedel said.

In recent weeks, Pakistani officials have captured at least 15 Afghan Taliban figures.  Afghan Taliban operations chief Mullah Baradar was arrested recently in Karachi, although the circumstances of the arrest remain murky about whether Baradar was picked up more by accident than design.

However it came about, Riedel, now at the Brookings Institution, says the arrests in Pakistan are a boon to U.S. and NATO efforts in Marjah and elsewhere in Afghanistan.  

"The arrest of Mullah Baradar, the follow-on arrests of shadow governors, is probably the single biggest victory we have seen in nine years in this conflict," Riedel said. "If it is followed up by continued movements by the Pakistanis to start shutting down the sanctuary and the safe haven that will be a significant boost for the prospects for success."

But skepticism abounds about how deep Pakistan's commitment to rooting out the Afghan Taliban runs.  Pakistan has a long record of supporting the Afghan Taliban, primarily through its Inter-Services Intelligence directorate.  

Pakistan has traditionally seen the Afghan Taliban as a way of maintaining influence in Afghanistan.  That is why, analysts say, the Afghan Taliban has been able to operate from Pakistani soil.

Professor Larry Goodson of the U.S. Army War College says Pakistan watches arch-rival India's growing influence in Afghanistan and its newfound closer relationship with the United States, as epitomized in the U.S.-India nuclear deal, with alarm.  

"Now you cannot tell me that the Pakistanis can sit there and watch the first state dinner be with (Indian Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh, and the nuclear agreement with India, and all of what they perceive as happening with India and Afghanistan, and have them say, 'Oh, okay, we will go along with what the United States wants us to do," Goodson said.  

In such an atmosphere, Goodson says, Islamabad wants to maintain the Afghan Taliban as its strategic hedge against India.

"They [Pakistanis] cannot use the nuclear weapons, and their conventional force has never been successful against India," Goodson said. "And so they have to maintain these guys [Taliban], and that comes with a certain amount of messiness and cost.  Now they are trying to control them, and we are putting them under a lot of pressure.  But to me, anyway, I would say it is obvious that those folks in Washington who are putting the pressure on, agitating for the pressure and so forth, would like to believe that the pressure is working."

Analysts say Pakistan looks to any future political reconciliation in Afghanistan to include Taliban elements, but the prospect of the Taliban in any power-sharing arrangement in Kabul is worrisome to the Indians.

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan held their first round of peace talks Thursday, which had stalled since the terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai in November of 2008.  The attacks have been blamed on Lashkar-i-Taiba, a militant group based in Pakistan. 

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs