Afghanistan’s relationship with India is ‘unacceptable’ to Pakistan, which is using proxies like the Haqqani network and Taliban against its neighbours, eminent experts have told United States lawmakers.
During a Congressional hearing, Seth Jones, Director of International Security and Defence Policy Centre at the Rand Corporation said that Pakistan has resorted to proxy organisations to further its foreign policy goals.
"Pakistan has resorted to proxy organisations to further its foreign policy goals both in places like Jammu and Kashmir against Indians and in Afghanistan and that means support to organisations like the Haqqani Network and Taliban, so it’s a proxy war," Jones said in response to a question from Congressman Ted Poe.
He also acknowledged that Afghanistan is India’s ‘strongest’ regional ally which is ‘unacceptable’ to Pakistan.
“India is an enemy while the Afghan government is an ally of the Indian government,” Jones said last week.
The Pakistani government views everything through the lens of fighting India, Bill Roggio, editor of Long War journal said during the hearing organised by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation.
"Unfortunately some of these jihadist groups that have spawned from the Pakistani efforts to fight India have come back to bite Pakistan. Until the Pakistani government and leaders and military intelligence, come to grips with this, this problem is going to exist," Roggio said.
Poe, who chaired the Congressional hearing on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said that in recent years the US has given over $33 billion (Rs 2,14,500 crore) in form of aid to Pakistan.
"Pakistan directly or indirectly supports the Haqqani Network, in theory. That network as we mentioned earlier, has killed more Americans in the region than any other terrorist group. To me that is something that we should not accept. We should not accept sending money to a country that supports a terrorist group that kills Americans. I think there is a real problem with that," Poe said.
Poe alleged that Taliban is still based in Pakistan and it came as no surprise when a US drone strike killed Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor in south-western Pakistan in May, 2016.
"The list of evidence of Pakistan’s support for terrorist goes on and on. We remember that when Al Qaeda leader and America's most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden was killed, he was found in Pakistan," he said.
"I believe Pakistan is playing us, they launch what they called counter-terrorism operations in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, but quickly became clear they were only targeting the Pakistani Taliban and not Afghan Taliban," he said.
Speaking about the Islamic State militant group, he said: “ISIS (Islamic State) announced the establishment of Afghan affiliate in January, 2015 and is entrenched itself in the eastern part of the country. ISIS’ presence in Afghanistan further complicates the country's tourist landscape.”
He said these fighters ended up becoming the leaders of the IS affiliate in Afghanistan known as ‘ISIS Khorasan Province’.