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'Pak fears India's rise in Afghanistan; nurtures Taliban, LeT'

world Updated: Oct 02, 2009 11:40 IST

Pakistan believes Afghanistan is developing into an Indian garrison and has been nurturing groups like the Taliban and LeT over the years to counter it, a key US Senate Committee was told.

"I am not making any accusations against any given country in the region. All of them are looking out for their vital interests. But India is becoming involved in Afghanistan to an extent that the Pakistanis consider Afghanistan as developing into an Indian garrison," Milt Bearden, ex-CIA Station Chief in Islamabad, told Senators during a hearing.

"This is not hysteria. This is a real concern," he said in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the hearing on 'Afghanistan's Impact on Pakistan.'

He also noted that China has its own interest in the region and has taken a 25 per cent share of a huge copper operation in Afghanistan. "They're building a major port in Pakistan at Gwadar," he added.

"Meanwhile, the Indians, working with the Iranians, are doing the same thing across -- in Iran on the Arabian Sea, building a major port. You have China getting a naval anchor on the Arabian Sea in Pakistan, India and Iran doing exactly the same thing across the border," Bearden said.

He suggested the US use its stewardship of Afghanistan to bring about some order in the regional resource-driven, 21st century-grade game, a recreation of a Silk Route. "But we're not right now involved in being able to manage that."