A retired US Army Reserve colonel, who served in Afghanistan, Iraq and on a humanitarian mission to West Africa, accused Pakistan of its duplicity that has “caused the United States to lose in Afghanistan.“
“For over 17 years we have wrongly applied counter-insurgency doctrine to a proxy war waged by Pakistan against the United States and Afghanistan. At the same time, we supplied Pakistan with generous aid packages to bribe them from pursuing a course of action opposed to our own, which they considered in their national interest,” said Lawrence Sellin in his article published by The National Interest.
“Counter-insurgency was never a winning strategy as long as Pakistan controlled the supply of our troops in landlocked Afghanistan and regulated the operational tempo through its proxy army, the Taliban, which has maintained an extensive recruiting, training and financial support infrastructure inside Pakistan, where it has been immune to attack,” the veteran added.
Following the 9/11 attacks, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to dismantle terrorist group Al Qaeda. They also aimed at denying the terror group a safe base of operations by trying to removing the Taliban from power.
The war in Afghanistan is the longest war in US history.
“Pakistan’s objectives for Afghanistan have always been different than those of the United States. Not only has Pakistan not helped the United States in Afghanistan, but from the very beginning through its support of the Taliban, Pakistan has actively worked against our interests and is responsible for the prolongation of the war and the deaths and maiming of thousands of Americans and Afghans,” Sellin stated.
For example, Jalaluddin Haqqani, the then-leader of the Haqqani Network controlled the Khost region of eastern Afghanistan, which is where most of Osama bin Laden’s training camps and supporters were. He was a CIA asset in the 1980s and met with US officials soon after 9/11.
Sellin quoted Gary Berntsen, one of the first CIA operatives to arrive in Afghanistan that the United States was aware of Pakistan’s duplicity early on.
“I assumed from the beginning of the conflict that ISI advisers were supporting the Taliban with expertise and material and, no doubt, sending a steady stream of intelligence back to (Pakistan).”
The same pattern of duplicitous behaviour by Pakistan has continued over the last seventeen years.
Late last year, during a Taliban attack on the Afghan provincial capital of Ghazni, large numbers of Pakistani nationals were found among the dead, presumably fighting with the Taliban. The bodies were subsequently returned to Pakistan.
In a video released recently, Al Qaeda emphasized its unity with Taliban and its role within the Taliban insurgency, as the jihadists, including Pakistanis, fight together to resurrect the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” Even then, American political leaders and senior military officers have done nothing, preferring to remain puzzled or indifferent as to why we have not won in Afghanistan, he added.
The retired US Army Reserve colonel also claimed that Pakistanis openly brag that they have defeated the United States. Shortly before his death in 2015, Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, the former head of Pakistan’s ISI, a committed Islamist and known as the “godfather of the Taliban,” said in an Urdu language television interview: “One day, history will say that the ISI drove the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan with the help of USA and another sentence will be recorded that says the ISI drove the USA out of Afghanistan with the help of the USA.”
This statement was met with roaring laughter in the audience.
“The problem of Pakistan as the actual instigator of the Afghan conflict was never adequately addressed and Taliban safe havens in Pakistan remained largely untouched,” the war veteran lastly said.
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