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Pak Army trying to get Haqqani's postwar Afghan setup

Pakistan Army is trying to exploit the troubled US military efforts in Afghanistan to sew up a deal with Afghan President to incorporate Haqqani network in the war-ravaged nation's postwar setup.

world Updated: Jun 25, 2010 21:00 IST

Pakistan Army is trying to exploit the troubled US military efforts in Afghanistan to sew up a deal with Afghan President to incorporate Haqqani network in the war-ravaged nation's postwar setup.

Army Chief General Parvez Ashfaq Kayani and his spy chief Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha are shuttling between Islamabad and Kabul to broker a deal with Hamid Karzai to incorporate Pakistan ISI longtime asset Haqqani network in a future deal on the war-torn nation.

The Pakistani generals are telling Karzai that they agree with his assessment that the US cannot win in Afghanistan and a postwar setup in the country should include the Haqqanis - who have given protection to Al Qaeda leadership for almost nine years now, New York Times reported today quoting highly placed Afghan and Pakistani officials.

The Haqqani network has long been Pakistan's crucial anti-India asset and has remained virtually untouched by Pakistani forces in their redoubt inside Pakistan, in the tribal areas on the Afghan border, even as the Americans have pressed Pakistan for an offensive against it.

The Americans have long suspicion that the Pakistani were holding the Haqqanis in reserve for such a moment, as a lever to shape the outcome of war in its favour.

This scenario is being watched with nervousness in Washington as it would give Islamabad important influence in Kabul, but undermine US interest, the paper said.

The dismissal of Gen Stanley A McChrystal will almost certainly embolden the Pakistanis in their plan as they detect increasing American uncertainty, Pakistani officials said.

The Pakistani Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, preferred General McChrystal to his successor, Gen David H Petraeus, whom he considers more of a politician than a military strategist, said people who had spoken recently with General Kayani.

Pakistan is presenting itself as the new viable partner for Afghanistan to President Hamid Karzai, who has soured on the Americans. Pakistani officials say they can deliver the network of Sirajuddin Haqqani, an ally of Al-Qaeda who runs a major part of the insurgency in Afghanistan, into a power-sharing arrangement.

In addition, Afghan officials say, the Pakistanis are pushing various other proxies, with General Kayani personally offering to broker a deal with the Taliban leadership.

In a sign of shift of momentum, the two Pakistani generals are scheduled to fly to Kabul on Monday, as part of efforts to deliver the network of Sirajuddin Haqqani, an ally of Al-Qaeda into a power sharing arrangement.