Can something be both newsworthy, and yet, nothing new? This story appears to be just that. More on Pakistan’s unaccountable state mafia. “ISI continues to aid Haqqanis, Taliban, claims US general,” from Pakistan Today, March 24 (thanks to Kenneth):
WASHINGTON – The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) continues to maintain ties with the Taliban and the Haqqani network, the top commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan has told American lawmakers, as a senior US official said the US and Pakistan will resume talks on the possible reopening of supply routes to Afghanistan after Islamabad completes its probe into an airstrike that killed 24 of its soldiers.
“I have not, sir,” International Security Assistance Force commander Gen John Allen said when asked by Senator John McCain: “Have you seen any change in the ISI relationship with the Taliban and the Haqqani network?” McCain said the corruption issue in the Karzai government and the Pakistani sanctuary and ISI assistance to the Taliban were the major challenges to success in Afghanistan. Allen agreed with his assessment.
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in terms of progress in reconciliation talks much would depend on countering the cross-border threat from the insurgents having safe havens on Pakistan’s territory, including dealing with the threat from the Haqqani network.
“And much is going to depend on the Karzai government improving the delivery of services and economic development, taking on corruption and providing increased transparency and on the conduct of credible provincial and national elections,” he added. McCain asked the Pakistan Army to understand that continued support to the Taliban was a losing bet. “The strategic partnership would make clear to the Taliban that they cannot wait us out and win on the battlefield, thus fostering real reconciliation on favourable terms to the Afghan government and to us,” he said.
Whatever happens in Afghanistan, the Pakistanis also run the risk of losing Pakistan.
James N Miller, the acting undersecretary of defence for policy, said success in Afghanistan depended on support from neighbours, particularly Pakistan. “Like Afghanistan’s other neighbours, Pakistan has legitimate interests that must be understood and addressed. And Pakistan also has responsibilities.”
Separately, Marc Grossman, US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, said he respected the work of a Pakistani parliamentary commission, which recommended on Monday that Pakistan should demand an unconditional apology from the US before the routes are reopened. It also called for an end to American drone attacks inside Pakistan.
Once Pakistan’s government has the commission’s recommendations, “we”ll then be in a conversation with the government of Pakistan about how to go forward,” Grossman said in response to a question about the possible reopening of the supply routes.
On Friday, Grossman briefed a meeting of NATO”s governing body, the North Atlantic Council, which consists of the ambassadors of all 28 member states.