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Thursday, August 18, 2011

AFGHAN BOILER: Pakistan says it can bring Haqqani to peace talks!

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Pakistan says it can bring Haqqani to peace talks

Islamabad: Pakistan's military says it can bring the notorious Haqqani militant network, considered one of the most lethal threats against US-led coalition troops in Afghanistan, to the negotiation table.

Instead, Washington is pushing Pakistan to carry out military assaults against Haqqani hideouts in the tribal regions.

The network is affiliated with the Taliban and al Qaeda and blamed for most of the major attacks in Afghanistan, particularly the often brazen assaults on the capital Kabul. It has been described as the glue that binds together the militant groups operating in Pakistan's tribal North Waziristan.

"The Haqqani network has been more important to the development and sustainment of al Qaeda and the global jihad than any other single actor or group," a study released earlier this month by West Point's Combating Terrorism Centre said.

A senior Pakistani military officer now says that Pakistan can deliver the Haqqani network to the negotiation table. Pakistan has kept open communication lines with Jalaluddin Haqqani, the elderly leader of the al Qaeda aligned network. The officer spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release the information.

The officer denied US and Afghan allegations that Islamabad is aiding and arming the network.

But delivering the Haqqanis would guarantee the Pakistanis a major role in negotiations to end the war and shore up their influence in Afghanistan after the Americans have gone.

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