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Pakistan sabotaged Afghan peace bid
WASHINGTON, AUG 24 (Agencies):
Published on 24 Aug. 2010 11:21 PM IST
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Even as the United States and the rest of the world is busy rescuing Pakistan’s from its flood crisis with billions of dollars in aid, it transpires Islamabad has been screwing Washington and the international community by sabotaging peace efforts in Afghanistan in a ceaseless pursuit of its policy of strategic depth.
In one of the more egregious cases of “biting the hands that feed” recorded in recent times, Pakistan arrested Mullah Baradar and some other top taliban leaders “to shut down secret peace talks that Baradar had been conducting with the Afghan government that excluded Pakistan,” the New York Times reported on Monday.
“We picked up Baradar and the others because they were trying to make a deal without us,” a Pakistani security official was quoted as saying brazenly, about the murky arrests earlier this year. “We protect the Taliban. They are dependent on us. We are not going to allow them to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians.”
The report, coming at a time an already parlous Pakistan is facing unprecedented floods — which some critics are starting to claim are exaggerated to extract international aid — could weigh against aid to the country. Already, one of the explanations being offered for the initially tepid international response to the crisis was Pakistan support for terrorism and its image deficit. Pakistan though has been riding on the unstinting support it enjoys from top Americans such as senator John Kerry and Admiral Mike Mullen to demand more from US.
But in remarks that could rankle even such ardent supporters, a Pakistani security official sneered at American gullibility while explaining how Islamabad hoodwinked Washington in the Baradar episode. “They are so innocent,” the official mocked even as other Nato officials acknowledged Pakistan had taken the world for a ride.
The NYT report offered a murky account of why and how Pakistan arrested Baradar, an enterprise that not only involved fooling Americans but standing up to Washington, which purportedly backed Baradar’s peace talks with Kabul without Pakistan’s knowledge. When Pakistani intelligence officials learned of the overtures, they became unnerved by what they saw as an attempt by the Afghans to strike a peace deal without them. In particular, the ISI suspected the Americans were orchestrating the talks and accused them of disregarding Pakistan’s legitimate security interests.
“The Americans and the British were going behind our backs, and we couldn’t allow that,” a Pakistan official was quoted as saying.
Pakistani intelligence officials then took technical help from the CIA to home in on Mullah Baradar and arrested him, but they did not reveal his identity to the Americans even as they spirited him away and initially denied them access to him.
Baradar remains in Pakistani custody “relaxing”, according to a Pakistani official; many of the other Taliban leaders, “after receiving lectures against freelancing peace deals, have been released to fight again,” the NYT reported, noting that “at a minimum, the arrest of Baradar offers a glimpse of the multilayered challenges the US faces as it tries to prevail in Afghanistan.”
“It (Washington) is battling a resilient insurgency, supporting a weak central government and trying to manage Pakistan’s leaders, who simultaneously support the Taliban and accept billions in American aid,” the paper said.
The latest disclosures, coming on top of the wikiLeaks episode that painted Pakistan as a terrorism patron, were accompanied by a scathing op-ed by Afghanistan’s national security adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta, in which he virtually called Pakistan the main mentor of terrorists and a saboteur of peace in the region.

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