Express Tribune reported on Monday that the US is ready to give control of three Afghan provinces to Haqqani militants if they promise to stop supporting the Afghan Taliban. The claim is based on the statements of an anonymous ‘senior American military official’. According to the anonymous source, the Haqqanis are nearly invincible as both Pakistan military and US military are both helpless against them.
The top US military official acknowledged that the Haqqani network was posing a real threat to the Nato/Isaf mission in Afghanistan. “The Taliban use IEDs but the Haqqanis have the ability and capability to cause the maximum damage to the foreign forces in Afghanistan,” he said.
Unlike the public position, the US official candidly admitted that Pakistan’s reluctance to go after the Haqqani network was linked to its fear of a strong backlash and not necessarily because it considers the group as its proxy.
“Pakistan can hurt the Haqqanis but General (Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani is reluctant to target them because he is worried about reprisal attacks,” he said.
Spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan Brig Gen Stephen Twitty released a statement rejecting the report immediately.
“Assertions made in an article today in The Express Tribune that the United States is willing to cede Afghan territory as part of a rapprochement with the Haqqani network and that the U.S. sees the Haqqani Network playing an ‘…important role in the future political dispensation of Afghanistan,’ are categorically false.
“These comments, attributed to ‘a senior American military official’ are inconsistent with U.S. policy. Further, only the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has the authority to take political steps on behalf of the Afghan people.”
ISPR has issued no comment on the article’s claim.