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World News | Pak’s Strategic Interest in Afghan is to Counter Indian Influence, Mitigate Spillover: State Dept IG

Washington, Aug 21 (PTI) Pakistan’s strategic security objectives in Afghanistan almost certainly continue to be countering Indian influence and mitigating spillover of the Afghan civil war into Pakistani territory, an American Inspector General has said, citing inputs from the Defense Intelligence Agency.

“Pakistan continues to support peace talks while maintaining ties with the Afghan Taliban. According to the DIA, Pakistan’s strategic security objectives in Afghanistan almost certainly continue to be countering Indian influence and mitigating spillover into Pakistani territory,” US Department of State Office of the Inspector General said in its latest quarterly report on Afghanistan.

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The report for the quarter April 1 to June 30, said the Pakistani government is concerned that a civil war in Afghanistan would have destabilising effects on Pakistan, including an influx of refugees and providing a potential safe haven for anti-Pakistan militants.

During the quarter, financial contributions to the Afghan Taliban increased in the Pakistan border regions, according to media reporting citing eyewitness sources. Solicitation efforts traditionally targeted mosques, but Afghan Taliban militants now openly visit the bazaar areas in nearby Pakistani towns, it said.

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“The militants typically solicit contributions of USD50 or more from shopkeepers. Local residents told reporters that solicitation efforts were now commonplace in the towns and cities of Quetta, Kuchlak Bypass, Pashtun Abad, Ishaq Abad, and Farooqia,” it said.

According to the report, the DIA, citing media reports, said that Iran welcomes the withdrawal of US and coalition forces from Afghanistan but “almost certainly” remains concerned about the resulting instability in Afghanistan. According to the DIA, Iran will continue to pursue influence in any future Afghan government through relations with the Afghan government, the Taliban, and power brokers, but Iran opposes the reestablishment of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate, it said.

As a resurgent Taliban continues to occupy new territory and an overtaxed Afghan National Defense Security Force is increasingly unable to provide security in certain areas, Afghan power brokers have increasingly begun raising private militias, according to media reporting, it said.

“During the quarter, leaders related to the Northern Alliance spoke openly of a ‘second resistance’ to the Taliban, and some of the leaders began to mobilize anti-Taliban forces under their respective commands,” it said.

The Northern Alliance comprised militias of primarily Tajik, Uzbek, and Hazara ethnicity, while the Taliban was largely of Pashtun ethnicity. The period of direct conflict between Northern Alliance and the Taliban included significant violence, often targeting civilians because of their ethnicity.

According to the Afghanistan Analysts Network, a resumption of conflict between the Taliban and the elements which formerly made up the Northern Alliance risks a recurrence of such violence.

In April, Ahmed Massoud, a militia commander and son of the Northern Alliance’s most prominent leader Ahmed Shah Massoud killed by al-Qaeda shortly before the attacks of September 11, 2001, stated in an interview that his followers were prepared for the “failure of peace”.

In May, Massoud told reporters that more than 100,000 militia leaders, fighters, and other stakeholders in northern Afghanistan have pledged support to his anti-Taliban movement.

He said that public concerns about the stagnant peace process, US withdrawal, and apparent Taliban gains against the ANDSF have led an increasing number of Afghans to take up arms and organise independently, said the report.

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)

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