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Pak still courting militant groups: report

Pakistan is still courting militant groups and needs to abandon militancy as a tool of its foreign and domestic policy as this has the potential to backfire, a new study has warned.

world Updated: Jun 21, 2010 16:23 IST

Pakistan is still courting militant groups and needs to abandon militancy as a tool of its foreign and domestic policy as this has the potential to backfire, a new study has warned.

"Pakistan's decision to support some militant groups has been counterproductive and a key objective of US policy must be to get Pakistan to end its support to militant groups", leading US think tank Rand Corp has said in its latest study.

"The US should continue to make this position clear as it began to do so in 2010", the report said.

Similarly, other states and international organisations, such as China and NATO should issue similar statements. The report said that Beijing had become increasingly concerned
about militant groups, including the Uighur groups that have used Pakistani soil for training and sanctuary.

The country's policy of use of militancy is not new and acquisition of nuclear weapons by Islamabad appears to have emboldened its support of militant groups by dampening its
concerns about Indian retaliation, the think tank said in its latest report "Pakistan: Can the US secure an insecure state?".

Rand has said that the policy of supporting militants began to backfire after 9/11, some changes were discernible in 2010 following the capture of top Taliban leaders like Mullah
Abdul Ghani Baradar.

"But Pakistan has not yet made a systematic break with militant groups", the study, released today said.

Rand said rising number of terrorist plots in the US with roots in Pakistan, were the outcome of Islamabad still following a strategy of keeping links alive with some groups.

Citing the botched Times Square bombing, the report said it was an example of how militant groups, some with shadow links with the government can export terrorism far beyond Pakistan's border.

The US is not getting its moneys worth for all the billions it is pumping into Pakistan as aid, and the report suggests that Washington should withhold some aid until
Pakistan makes "discernible progress".

While acknowledging that Pakistan has met some goals in the hunt for wanted terrorists, but has also at times undermined the US interest, the report said.

The report by the American think tank said that Pakistan army has limited success in its counter insurgency operations against Taliban in the tribal areas close to Afghan border.

"The performance of the army in operations like Al Mizan in South Waziristan suggest serious deficiencies in conducting cordon-and-search operations and holding territory", the report said.

It said that US assistance and training was helping in building the capacity of Pakistani forces, but the Pakistan army appears reluctant to establish "such a close
relationship".

The US should continue seeking alternative routes for resupply, including through Iran and Central Asia.

RAND is a nonprofit study group frequently hired by the Pentagon. The report was produced by a division of RAND that receives Pentagon funding, but was not specifically commissioned by the government.