South Asia News

Pakistan still uses Taliban as hedge against India: US commander

Pakistan continues to use the Taliban as a hedge against India instead of utilizing it as part of a stable, reconciled Afghanistan, a top American commander said, days after US President Donald Trump sought assistance from Islamabad in the Afghan peace process.

Dec 6, 2018
WASHINGTON: Pakistan continues to use the Taliban as a hedge against India instead of utilizing it as part of a stable, reconciled Afghanistan, a top American commander said, days after US President Donald Trump sought assistance from Islamabad in the Afghan peace process.
 
US Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie made the remarks on Wednesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing to become commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM).
 
"Pakistan is an essential element in long term stability in Afghanistan. At this time, however, Pakistan does not appear to be using the full extent of its influence to encourage the Taliban to come to the table," McKenzie Jr told the committee. "We continue to see the Taliban being utilized as a hedge against India rather than as part of a stable, reconciled Afghanistan." 
 
Islamabad's policy towards its neighbour Afghanistan and its stance against the terror groups in the region appeared unchanged.
 
"Despite Pakistan's positive rhetoric in support of the South Asia Strategy, violent extremist organizations (VEOs) operate along its border with Afghanistan," he said.

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