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Pakistan recognizes need to fight Afghan Taliban: US AfPak representative

Mr Olson, who was ambassador to Pakistan after the new incumbent David Hale took some weeks ago also said that this “creates an opportunity that we will want to pursue as much as possible”.

“I think there is increasingly a recognition on the part of the government of Pakistan that there is significant bleed over between the Pakistani Taliban and the Afghan Taliban. This is one of the motivations for their desire to that it is no longer so simple for them as it may have been in the past even if they in principle agree to distinguish between good and bad Taliban,” he told the Senate Committee.The US Special Representative said that terrorism-related issues had always been at the centre of dialogue between Washington and Islamabad and that in all of this the US would be asking Pakistan to act against the Haqqani network as well as the Taliban.

Jalaluddin Haqqani
Jalaluddin Haqqani in a file photo from 1998 — he was speaking to reporters in Miramshah in North Waziristan

He said that Pakistan had made significant strides in this regard and that militant safe havens in North Waziristan had “largely been cleaned” and that this was something that America had always wanted. He went on to say that Pakistan had however focused more on the TTP than they have on “external terrorist actors”.

Ambassador Olson was asked a question regarding the Islamic State and said that it had a large presence in some provinces of Afghanistan but that its local leaders were not taking directions from any IS leaders in Iraq or Syria. He said that his “understanding” was that this was mostly “disaffected Taliban factions who and commanders who had switched allegiance”.

He said this did not mean that there was no danger from this development but that it was difficult to suggest that there was a direct link in terms of flow of funds and fighters from the Middle East to the AfPak region.
Ambassador also said that there was increased fighting in Afghanistan this year but that it was linked to the news of Mullah Omar’s death and that this had caused various commanders to compete with one another in terms of gaining dominance and influence in the changed power matrix.



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