News / Asia

    US Will Not Target Haqqanis in Afghanistan

    Army Lt. Gen. John Nicholson Jr., seen in this  Jan. 28, 2016 photo, is picked to lead US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. He says the U.S. is not targeting Haqqanis in Afghanistan.
    Army Lt. Gen. John Nicholson Jr., seen in this Jan. 28, 2016 photo, is picked to lead US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. He says the U.S. is not targeting Haqqanis in Afghanistan.
    Ayaz Gul

    The United States military for the first time has categorically stated its counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan are not targeting the Haqqani network of militants, which is fighting alongside the Taliban.

    The comment this week by Lieutenant General John “Mick” Nicholson, picked to lead US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has come as a surprise to regional analysts who say it could be signaling a shift in Washington’s policy to promote Afghan peace and reconciliation efforts.

    “They are not part of that designation right now…The Haqqanis are principally a focus of the Afghan security forces,” Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday when asked wether U.S. forces target the Haqqanis as part of their counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan.

    Nicholson went on to explain that the focus of U.S. counterterrorism actions are militants linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State group to prevent them from becoming a threat to the United States. Around 10,000 U.S. forces  are stationed in Afghanistan as part of NATO-led Resolute Support mission to train and advise Afghan security forces and conduct counterterrorism operations.  

    But he reiterated the Haqqani network is “the number one threat” to American forces in the country and a “severe threat” to the Afghan government.

    U.S. and Afghan officials have long alleged that Haqqanis together with the Taliban are using their bases in Pakistani border territory for attacks inside Afghanistan.  

    Nicholson reiterated those concerns in his testimony, saying the United States has not been satisfied that Pakistan has put enough pressure on the Haqqanis to prevent cross-border attacks.  

    “I view it as a serious problem and this has been one of the principal challenges. It is a sanctuary that our enemies and particularly the Haqqani network have enjoyed inside Pakistan,” he said.

    The head of Islamabad-based Institute of Strategic Studies, Masood Khan, while commenting on the U.S. general’s comments regarding the Haqqani network says principal interlocutors need to “signal flexibility.”

    Afghan, Pakistani, U.S. and Chinese officials have recently initiated a four-way peace process aimed at resurrecting stated talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban.

    The contract group has held two meetings this month while a third is scheduled for February 6 in Islamabad.

    “It is absolutely imperative to bring Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table. Pakistan believes that the best way to do this is through well-considered incentivization and inducement. Neither coercion nor weak blandishments would work,” said Khan.

    Nicholson praised the quadrilateral talks as “a great leap forward”, saying it should result in a road map for further Afghan peace talks.  

    “These talks are encouraging; I see reconciliation as the path towards a negotiated settlement that brings about the end of conflict in Afghanistan.”

    The Haqqani network has carried out some of the most sophisticated guerrilla attacks and suicide bombings in Afghanistan against both local as well as foreign targets.

    Lately, it has focused its raids on targets in Kabul. The group's leadership U.S. officials believe has links to the Pakistani spy agency, charges Islamabad denies.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Haron from: Afghanistan
    January 31, 2016 8:22 AM
    @Sardar Khan
    don't be worry there will be an operation against them for several years in Pakistan territory.
    this is a need to operate against Taliban and Haqqani groups. during 14 years they've never sat on peace table.
    so, there must be an operation against these two group in Eastern and Durand line. then there would be a priority of elimination for Daesh or (IS).
    In Response

    by: Irfan from: India
    February 05, 2016 10:14 PM
    Haqqanis' are Pakistan's principal military asset in Afghanistan, and if anyone thinks that Pakistan is about to give its hold on Afghanistan, he may be out of touch with reality. Since the US/NATO presence in this region is pathetically dependent on Pakistan, rather than anyone else, it has to give this sop, of letting it have the Haqqanis under its feathers.

    by: Sardar Khan
    January 30, 2016 12:55 PM
    What a joker is this man.His forces won't target the Haqqani Group but wants Pakistan to attack them.No,it is your mess so deal with it.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora