Pakistan faced renewed pressure to crack down on the Haqqani terror network. Blamed by the West for deadly attacks in Afghanistan, a top UK general on Tuesday asked Islamabad to take decisive action against the outfit.
General Nicholas Houghton, vice-chief of the British Defence Staff, told HT, “Pakistan could do more in bearing down on the ability of the Haqqani network to operate with impunity.”
Houghton's comments come at a time when the Western military is preparing the Afghan security forces to take charge of security by 2014, the deadline for the withdrawal of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
The US has blamed the Haqqani network for recent attacks on American embassy in Kabul and ISAF headquarters.
Houghton said the UK was trying to bring Pakistan to a “degree of self-realisation” that it would have to play a pre-eminent role for Afghanistan to take full responsibility for security, governance and development.
Asked to comment on Pakistan angling for a stake in Afghanistan's political future in the context of India's role in restoring stability there, Houghton said: “There's a feeling in Islamabad that India could use Afghanistan for a proxy war against Pakistan. New Delhi should be able to use diplomatic channels to allay such fears.”
He said it was in the interest of India and Pakistan to have a stable Afghanistan rather than make it a venue for conflict and proxy war.
Houghton said India, along with the international community, would have to provide finances, training and equipment to the Afghan national security forces. “We don't promise insurgency will be defeated by the Afghan forces, but they will be able to control it,” he said.
The West's exit from Afghanistan has already begun with the Dutch pulling out its troops last year.