Pakistan Protecting Haqqani Network
The Afghan government and the US military officials in Afghanistan have strongly expressed objections to the Pakistani operation against Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan in North Waziristan. Afghan intelligence officials accused Pakistan of protecting the notorious Haqqani network from the ongoing military offensive against the militant in the tribal areas. Haqqani network is known for its brutal campaign against Afghan and American forces stationed in Afghanistan. According to Afghan security and intelligence officials, Pakistan helped Haqqani network to escape the recent military campaign and find shelters in other tribal regions as well as cities such as Quetta and Karachi. The Afghan government has blamed the deadly bombing in Paktika province on Haqqani network.
Pakistan has long been under pressures from the United States to launch a crackdown against the militant safe havens in North Waziristan where the militant groups such as Haqqani network organize attacks against American forces in Afghanistan. Reacting to the Pakistani offensive against Taliban, American military commander in Afghanistan strongly objected the outcome of the Pakistani offensive in North Waziristan, saying the United States is not satisfied with the operation because it has exempted Haqqani network. In the past, Pakistan resisted against American call to launch an extensive crackdown on all Taliban affiliated groups including the Haqqanis. The United States even accused Pakistan of not doing enough against the Taliban and letting the Haqqani network to plot against American interests in Afghanistan.
One of the long lasting tactics of Pakistani military and intelligence have been to use the Taliban as a leverage against other countries such as India and Pakistan. However, finally Islamabad was forced to label the Taliban as ‘the good Taliban’ and the ‘bad Taliban’. As Pakistan allowed various groups of the militants to grow stronger in the tribal region, it effectively allowed the militants to promote an anti-Islamabad agenda seeking to topple the secular establishment in Islamabad. During the past few years, Pakistani cities were scenes of bloodiest assaults of the Taliban. Combating the militant groups, Pakistani has shouldered the brunt of the war against militancy and extremism in the region. However, Pakistan’s double standard towards fighting the terrorism has turned the country into the safe haven of terrorist groups in the region.
Pakistan is now worried with the future of the militancy in the country as the United States is preparing for complete withdrawal by end of 2016. Recently a delegation of Pakistani military officials has recently visited Washington to urge American officials to back the ongoing military offensive in North Waziristan even after troop pullout from Afghanistan. Pakistan’s call on the US to not abandon the region after 2016 is indicating that the country are now fearing the US pullout from the region may even further prolong the war Taliban has been waging in the country. On the other hand, the Pakistani military now consider the Taliban as the most serious threat to Pakistan’s security in the future. However, Pakistanis double standards towards the Taliban and using the militants as leverage against Afghanistan is not going to work for Pakistan. The country will continue to be victim of militancy as long as it is failing to combat the Taliban as a whole.