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Former envoy to Trump: Be tough with Pakistan to win Afghanistan's trust

ANI  |  New York [United States] 

Pakistan's former envoy to the United States Husain Haqqani has called on U.S. President Donald Trump to take a tough stand against if wants to secure Afghanistan's

In an opinion piece titled 'To Win Afghanistan, Get Tough on Pakistan' for The New York Times, Ambassador Haqqani says, "Although the are said to control or contest 40 percent of Afghanistan's territory, leaders operate from the safety of Pakistan".

He said must now consider alternatives as Washington's incentives to since the September 11 terror attacks have failed to dissuade the latter from stopping its support to the and other terror elements.

Ambassador Haqqani opines that for Islamabad, the alliance with the United States has been more about securing weapons, economic aid and diplomatic support in its confrontation with

He said both the U.S. and have disappointed each other because of divergence in their interests in South Asia.

"The George W. Bush administration erred in ignoring the regrouping of the in after their defeat in in the aftermath of Sept. 11, considering Pakistan's cooperation in capturing some Qaeda figures as sufficient evidence of its alliance with the United States. President Barack Obama's administration tried to deal with a resurgent with a surge in troop numbers for a specific period. Mr. Obama deployed armed drones to strike at targets inside Pakistan, but that proved insufficient in dealing with the leadership living in the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Peshawar," he writes.

"Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former military dictator, had secretly authorised the drone strikes, and some of the drones operated from bases inside - a policy that continued under his civilian successors. Under his rule, audaciously denied having anything to do with the Afghan or its most sinister component, the Haqqani network," Ambassador Haqqani adds.

He noted that the United States had presented evidence of Pakistan's links to Afghan militants just as the country transitioned from military to civilian rule in 2008.

As Pakistan's ambassador to the United States at that time, Haqqani says he had urged Pakistan's civil and military leaders to engage with Americans honestly instead of sticking to blanket denials.

"Islamabad's response was to argue that does, indeed, support insurgents in Afghanistan, but it does so because of security concerns about India, which is seen by generals and many civilian leaders as an existential threat to But that excuse is based on exaggerations and falsehoods. has no offensive military presence in and there has never been any evidence that the Afghans are willing to be part of India's alleged plan for a two-front war with Pakistan, he said.

The former Pakistani envoy further said that President Ashraf Ghani recently asked to train Afghan military officers and repair military aircraft after frustration with Pakistan, as it had failed to fulfil promises of restraining the and forcing them to the negotiating table.

He said that Pakistan's leaders question Afghanistan's acceptance of economic assistance from even though does not have the capacity to provide such aid itself.

"It seems that wants to keep alive imaginary fears, possibly to maintain military ascendancy in a country that has been ruled by generals for almost half of its existence. For years, Pakistani officials falsely asserted that had set up 24 consulates in Afghanistan, some close to the Pakistani border. In fact, has only four consulates, the same number has, in Afghanistan," Haqqani said.

He said while evidence of an Indian threat to through remains scant, proof of the presence of Afghan leaders in continues to mount as Mullah Omar, the Taliban's leader, reportedly died in a Pakistani hospital in 2013 and his successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was killed in an American drone strike in Balochistan last year.

He urged the U.S. to not let link its longstanding support for hard-line Pashtun Islamists in to its disputes with

Haqqani said linking the outcome in to resolution of issues would keep the United States embroiled there for a very long time.

"The recent rise in Islamophobia in and a more aggressive stance against by Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not detract from recognising the paranoiac nature of Pakistan's fears" he said.

"The Bush administration gave $12.4 billion in aid, and the Obama administration forked over $21 billion. These incentives did not make more amenable to cutting off support for the Afghan Taliban," he added.

Haqqani also urged the Trump Administration to consider taking away Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally, which would limit its priority access to American military technology, saying that aid to should be linked to a sequence and timeline for specific actions against leaders.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 13 2017. 08:07 IST