Pakistan still harbors Taliban, Pentagon report says

A quarterly report by the US Department of Defense to Congress says Pakistan continues to support the Taliban

May 22, 2020

A quarterly report by the US Department of Defense to Congress says Pakistan continues to support the Taliban.

“Pakistan continues to harbor the Taliban and associated militant groups in Pakistan, such as the Haqqani Network, which maintains the ability to conduct attacks against Afghan interests,” a quarterly report by Pentagon says.

The report that was released on May 19 covers the period from January to March of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the US military mission in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan likely views increased Taliban influence in Afghanistan as supporting its overall objectives and will seek to influence intra-Afghan peace talks in a direction favorable to Pakistan,” the report said.

The report is significant as it comes after the signing of the US-Taliban agreement in Doha on February 29, which established a framework for the conditional withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the path towards intra-Afghan talks.

“According to the DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency], Pakistan’s strategic objectives in Afghanistan continue to be countering Indian influence and mitigating spillover of instability into its territory,” the report said.

Citing the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon report says “that Pakistan has encouraged the Afghan Taliban to participate in peace talks, but refrained from applying coercive pressure that would seriously threaten its relationship with the Afghan Taliban to dissuade the group from conducting further violence.”

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