Pakistan-Haqqani ties threaten to thwart U.S.

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However, the relationship between the Haqqanis and the ISI is complex.

The Haqqanis despise the ISI, Ms. Peters said.

“What should be changing Pakistan’s calculus is that the Haqqanis and other militant networks in the region are increasingly hostile toward Pakistan,” she said. “Pakistan is at risk of being attacked by the very monsters it helped create, particularly the Haqqanis.”

“The Haqqanis are guns for hire. I don’t think there is any love lost between them and the Pakistan government at this point,” Ms. Peters added.

Pakistani officials have denied supporting the Haqqani Network. They say that, if anything, support is provided by “rogue” former army and intelligence personnel.

Pakistani officials in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

“To me, the explanation that the Pakistanis don’t really know what is going on, that never really held water,” Mr. Dressler said. “When it comes to supporting the Haqqani Network, this is something that is backed by the military leadership.”

Uncertain future

In Afghanistan, the Haqqanis have created what the Western official described as a “security challenge” as they fight to win back lost strongholds even as U.S. combat troops prepare to leave the country by the end of 2014.

“The Haqqanis seem well-positioned to dominate their zone of operations in the event of a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from the region,” the Combating Terrorism Center report says.

The problem is that Pakistan has never faced consequences for its support for international militant groups, Mr. Dressler said.

“They continue to shirk responsibility for dealing with a variety of international terrorists operating on their soil, particularly the Haqqani Network,” he said. “There ought to be consequences.”

Western and Afghan officials have their sights set on the end of 2014, by which time U.S. combat troops will have left Afghanistan. They are worried that the Haqqani Network will become emboldened to carry out more terrorist strikes.

The Haqqanis also could undermine any peace deal reached with the Taliban, though such a scenario is remote for now. The Taliban broke off peace talks with the U.S. in March after accusing it of shifting the goal posts.

The Taliban leadership is split on the issue of peace talks. The group’s political leadership favors reconciliation, but its field commanders, emboldened by the 2014 deadline, are determined to draw out the conflict.

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About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.

 

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