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US relying on ISI for ‘reconciliation talks’

world Updated: Nov 01, 2011 01:23 IST

PTI
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After accusing Pakistan’s ISI of supporting the Haqqani terror network the Barack Obama administration is now relying on the spy agency to help it organise and begin “reconciliation talks” aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan a media report said.

“The revamped approach, which Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Fight Talk Build combines continued United States air and ground strikes against the Haqqani network and the Taliban with an insistence that Pakistan’s ISI get them to the negotiating table,” the New York Times reported.

The new strategy has emerged as an option in the wake of the increased attacks against Americans in Kabul, including the suicide attack on Saturday that killed 10 Americans.

“It is the latest effort at brokering a deal with militants before the last of 33,000 US troops prepare to pull out of Afghanistan by end of December, and comes as early hopes in the White House about having the outlines of a deal in time for a multinational conference December 5 in Bonn,” the report said.

However, a few elements of the ISI “see little advantage” in forcing those negotiations, as they see insurgents as their best bet for maintaining influence in Afghanistan once the US reduces its presence there.

The new strategy has been met with deep skepticism by some in the Obama administration, partly because the Pakistani government has developed its own strategy at odds with Clinton’s.

A senior US official summarised the Pakistani position as Cease-fire Talk Wait for the Americans to Leave.

“In short the US is in the position of having to rely heavily on the ISI to help broker a deal with the same group of militants that leaders in Washington say the spy agency is financing and supporting,” the NYT report added.

The US intelligence officials have also deepened an investigation into the role if any the Haqqani network played in the bombing in Kabul on Saturday.

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