Terrorist safe havens continue in Pakistan: US experts
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Two former Obama Administration officials have alleged that continued terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan was the main reason for the Taliban carrying out attacks inside Afghanistan.
“This (Taliban) offensive is enabled by sanctuaries in Pakistan. It has also been enabled by an internecine struggle among different Taliban factions and with a new factor in Afghanistan, Daesh or Islamic State, which is seeking inroads there as well,” said David Sedney, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia from 2009 to 2013.
Sedney, who is currently a senior associate at Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Taliban use of violence has increased as foreign forces have decreased.
“So it's not the question of presence of foreign forces. It's a question of control and power. The Taliban have made clear they want to rule Afghanistan,” he told PBS news.
“When the Taliban have taken more territory this year -- and they have -- they have gone out and killed civil society people. They have persecuted women. They have gone back to exactly the same kind of things that they were doing before 2001 that made Afghanistan such a hellish place to live for most Afghans,” he said.
Barnett Rubin, who was a senior adviser at the US State Department from 2009 to 2013, said the Taliban would not be able to carry out such terrorist attacks but for the terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan.
“The Taliban wouldn't be able to mount all these offensives and so on, though they would exist and they would have to be dealt with politically, if they didn't have undisturbed sanctuaries in Pakistan,” Rubin said.
“And the reasons for that, other than Pakistan being evil or terrorist-supporting, Pakistan has certain interests in the region,” he said.
“We are now trying to address those diplomatically. It's extremely difficulty. We have to have enough forces on the ground in Afghanistan, so that the situation remains relatively stable to give us the space to do that diplomatic work,” Rubin said.
“The main weakness on the Afghanistan government side is not whether their forces can fight the Taliban. It's the political divisions within the Afghan government which sometimes undermine the forces. And on the other side, the main issue is that the Taliban's sanctuary in Pakistan, not how strong or angry they are,” he said.
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