Taliban, Haqqani Enjoy Safe Havens in Pakistan: Pentagon
Asserting that the Taliban and the Haqqani network enjoy safe havens in the border regions of Pakistan, a top US Army General on 13 April told lawmakers that it was very difficult to contain insurgency in war-torn Afghanistan if Islamabad continues to harbour terrorists on its soil.
It’s very, very difficult to eliminate any insurgency if that insurgency has safe haven in another country. But right now, the Taliban, the Haqqanis and other organisations do, in fact, enjoy some safe haven in the border regions on the Pakistani side of the border. Pakistan has got to be part of the solution.General Mark A Milley
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said to end insurgency in Afghanistan it was important to reduce the threat of terrorism, something that can be handled on a routine basis by the internal security forces.
Responding to a question on reconciliation, he said the Afghan government was on the path right now to establish some sort of political reconciliation with various opponent groups. US is in support of that effort, Milley added.
"So it's important that we realign the forces, that we reinforce the capabilities that we're already doing, and that we regionalise the problem, including Pakistan, and that there's some sort of reconciliation process. At the end of the day, that's how that ends, and it ends successfully, and I believe that's achievable,” the General said.
One of the American objectives since 2001 has been that Afghanistan no longer was a platform for terrorists to conduct strikes on the continental United States, or in the United States.
"That's key. That's why we're there, and that's why we're still there," he said, adding that this can be achieved through a stable Afghanistan.
"So what does that look like? It means that the armed opposition, the Taliban, Haqqani network, Al-Qaida, ISIS, K and all these other groups are reduced in terms of capability that they no longer present an existential threat to the regime in Kabul, and that the Afghan National Security Forces are at large," he said.
"Their army, their police, their intelligence forces can handle the violent threat against the regime at a level that is something akin to crime or banditry," Milley said.
(Published in an arrangement with PTI)