Islamabad senses need to battle Afghan Taliban: US
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Islamabad is increasing realising the stark reality that it must fight against the Afghan militants if the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has to be vanquished, a US diplomat has said.
Ambassador Richard Olson told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “And that (recognition in Pakistan) creates an opportunity that we will want to pursue as much as possible.”
He believed the government of Pakistan had recognised the significant links between the Pakistani and the Afghan Taliban, It was no longer simple for them, as it might have been in the past, to distinguish between good and bad Taliban, he remarked.
Olson acknowledged Pakistan had taken significant steps to counter internal terror threats and the US would continue to urge Islamabad to do the same against the Afghan Taliban as well. He noted Taliban hideouts in North Waziristan had been largely destroyed.
Olson told the panel the Islamic State group had a larger presence in Nangarhar than in other provinces of Afghanistan. But apparently, the group fighters were not receiving instructions from the leaders in Syria or Iraq, he said.
“Our understanding is that these are disaffected Taliban factions and commanders who have switched allegiance,” the envoy noted, ruling out a direct linkage and flow of material or fighters from the Middle East to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
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