In view of the recent arrest of top Taliban militants,including their number two Mullah Baradar,the US has said Pakistan was now “increasingly” recognising the threat faced by it from violent extremism and taking action against it.
“We are enormously heartened by the fact that the Pakistani government and their military and intelligence services increasingly recognise the threat within their midst and are doing something about it,” Pentagon spokesman,Geoff Morrell,told reporters yesterday.
However,Morrell refused to entertain questions about the motives behind the recent arrest of top Taliban leaders in Pakistan,including that of Baradar in Karachi last week during a secret joint ISI-CIA operation.
“I am not going to speak to their motives. I’m not going to speak to any of the specific operations or these specific captures,” he said.
Morrell hoped the combined efforts on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border are going to reverse the momentum that the Taliban had enjoyed.
“We are obviously enormously pleased and gratified and heartened by the fact that the Pakistani government,the Pakistani military,their intelligence services,appreciate the threat that exists within their midst and is doing something about it,” he said.
“That’s reflected in the fact that they (Pakistan) have an extraordinary number of forces now deployed on the border region in the west. It’s reflected in the fact that they are taking action against Taliban leaders,” Morrell said.
There are many examples of Pakistan’s recognition that “this threat within their borders is every bit as much a danger to them as it is to us,” he said.
“Between the ongoing operations that we have throughout Afghanistan,but in particularly in Taliban strongholds … as well as the sustained efforts … by the Pakistani military intelligence services,the Taliban is clearly being squeezed by our forces,coalition forces,Afghan forces in Afghanistan,being squeezed by Pakistani military and intelligence forces in Pakistan,” Morrell said in response to a question.
It would have to be seen what the impact of this is going to be on the militants,he said.
“Our hope is clearly that this is creating a certain amount of discontent,worry,turmoil within the organisation,such that it is,that Taliban fighters are going to think twice about remaining loyal to this cause and that this will ultimately adversely impact the momentum that they have enjoyed over the past several months,” he said.
Amid the concerted efforts by Pakistan and US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan,”the squeeze is being put to the Taliban,” he said.