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Pak safe havens challenge to reconciliation: Nicholson

Pak safe havens challenge to reconciliation: Nicholson

Feb 23, 2017 - 10:04

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Terrorist safe havens in Pakistaninfo-icon posed a major challenge to reconciliation efforts in Afghanistaninfo-icon, America’s top military commander said.

“Reconciliation is the end state we’re after. The classic approach is you militarily incentivise them to reconcile. Of course, the problem with that is they enjoy sanctuary inside Pakistan.

“So whenever the pressure gets too great, they just move back across the border,” Gen. John Nicholson, commander of NATOinfo-icon forces in Afghanistan told the CTC Sentinel -- a publication of Combating Terrorism Center on 2nd week of January, which is published yesterday by CTC.

“This is why an insurgency that enjoys externalinfo-icon sanctuary and support is seldom defeated expeditiously,” Nicholson argued, acknowledging it would be difficult to win the war as long as there were safe havens in Pakistan.

However, Nicholson said his intention would be to defeat the Islamic State in Afghanistan in the next year. “I’m setting the bar high for us. Money is flowing today. We don’t want fighters flowing tomorrow,” he remarked.

Nicholson said five terrorist networks -- Al Qaeda, Talibaninfo-icon, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Haqqani Networkinfo-icon and Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent -- formed a loose confederation. They work together and complement each other.

Al-Qaeda is linked to the Taliban, who are not a designated terrorist organisation but a violent extremist outfit, according to him. The Taliban provided a medium for terrorist groups like the Haqqani network, Lashkar-i-Taiba, and AQIS.

The Islamic State, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had also formed a loose configuration, the commander alleged.

“So we saw these alliances of convenience or where they have complementary goals come together. This is one of our big concerns,” Nicholson said.



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