WEB DESK: “Pakistan recognizes the fact that to defeat the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the country needs to take on the Afghan Taliban also,” the US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Olson 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.
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.
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 Afghan-Pak region.