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Topic - Matt Waldman
The Afghan government's reconciliation effort with the Taliban is being hamstrung by a lack of participants who wield clout within the militant group and a "peace council" viewed by many Afghans as more eager to maintain the status quo.
Ever since the United States issued a rather unceremonious threat to bomb the Pakistanis back to the Stone Age in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks unless they changed course, Pakistan has been America's indispensible - if less than reliable - South Asian ally. A new report authored by Matt Waldman for the London School of Economics highlights what U.S. policymakers have long considered Pakistan's greatest deficiency: that its military intelligence apparatus, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, supports the Taliban in Afghanistan.
He noted a "striking lack of deference" on the part of field commanders toward Taliban leaders living comfortably in Quetta, Pakistan.
Mr. Waldman said the biggest obstacle to reconciliation is the deep mistrust among the Taliban of Western intentions and hostility toward Mr. Karzai and his "mafia elite."