Pakistan created terror groups to check India and Afghanistan, say former US diplomats

William Milam, a former US ambassador to Pakistan, said Pakistan has "no interest in a peaceful Afghanistan that would be under the influence of its arch enemy India and feels keenly the need for a proxy to protect its interests there."

By: PTI | Washington | Published: July 21, 2017 1:11 pm
Pakistan-India relation, Haqqani network and Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistan, US on terror networks in Pakistan, International news, World news “As for the Leshkar-e-Taiba, it is a reminder that Pakistan still sees India as its primary existential threat and still relies on proxies to keep India off balance.,” said William Milam

Pakistan created terror groups such as the Taliban, the Haqqani network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba to keep India “off balance” and protect Islamabad’s interests in war-torn Afghanistan, according to former US diplomats and officials. William Milam, a former US ambassador to Pakistan, and Philip Reiner, a former senior director for South Asia at the National Security Council during the Obama administration, said Pakistan’s notorious spy agency, the ISI, continues to protect and assist these groups, according to The Cipher Brief.

The online intelligence news and analysis portal on Thursday carried interviews and opinion pieces deciphering the “double game” of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Milan told the portal that Pakistan has “no interest in a peaceful Afghanistan that would be under the influence of its arch enemy India and feels keenly the need for a proxy to protect its interests there.”

“We know that Pakistan was present at the creation of the Taliban in the mid-1990s and gave them much support in their fight to take over the country. And we know that the Haqqani network, which is allied with the Afghan Taliban, has become a good substitute proxy,” he said.

Milam said the argument that the ISI supports hostile groups such as the Haqqani network, the Taliban, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba are generally believed by Western experts to be correct “but evidence for them is all highly-classified and held closely.”

“As for the Leshkar-e-Taiba, it is a reminder that Pakistan still sees India as its primary existential threat and still relies on proxies to keep India off balance.

“A virulently anti-Indian extremist organisation, Leshkar-e-Taiba serves as one proxy. Inside India, in the last several years, it has carried out very serious raids which appear to have had ISI help. (Could they have been rogue ISI units? We don’t know),” he said.

Milam was US ambassador to Pakistan from 1998 until 2001.

According to The Cipher Brief, despite denials from senior Pakistani officials, many experts agree that the ISI continues to protect and assist the three US-designated terrorist groups, as part of its strategy to keep Afghanistan unstable and advance its ambitions in the Kashmir region.

In an Op-ed for the portal, Reiner wrote that ISI’s role over time has included brutal suppression of anti-state rhetoric, fomenting insurgency, providing illicit channels for drug smuggling, acquiring nuclear weapons components, and developing proxy outfits to splinter domestic political parties.

“The primary argument made by Pakistani Generals is that due to historic and growing disparities with India in the conventional military balance, these proxy groups are essential for keeping India off-balance, as well as for ensuring that Afghanistan does not become a Western-aligned and India-dominated neighbour encircling the Pakistanis,” he wrote.

According to him, since 9/11, the ISI has assisted in taking down a number of al-Qaeda leaders, but it has at the same time allowed safe passage for other terrorists, permitting India-focused terror groups to remain active, and ensuring that the Afghan Taliban could regroup and become a more effective and equipped fighting force than ever before.

“The US has found Pakistan to be a partner and an adversary at the same time,” the former White House official said.

“Pakistan’s double game is clearly illustrated by the ISI and its role,” Reiner said.

According to Bennett Seftel, the deputy director of analysis at the online portal, the ISI exerts a strong grip on Pakistan’s national security apparatus. It pulls strings behind the scenes to dominate Pakistani’s foreign and domestic policies.

“Many Americans are wary of the ISI, accusing it of providing safe havens to the Haqqani network and Taliban, which are responsible for many US and allied deaths in Afghanistan,” Seftel said.

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  1. P
    p g
    Jul 22, 2017 at 6:22 am
    All by funds given by you Americans to attack India. Shame on you people, keeping your eye's closed to the terrorists and nuclear activities conducted by this very rouge nation, witnessed by your govt's all the time. Stop funding this mother of terrorist nation Pakistan, even in the name an ally. USA is no better than their blood brother China.
    1. M
      Jul 22, 2017 at 12:22 am
      And now China has joined the race. Pakistan and China both being militaristic in nature (ruling class military), it is evident they have no civilian interest in their minds even when they talk about civilian matters. One talks of nuclear attack and another talks of attacking India from Kashmir to what not! A civilian Govt., elected democratically will have different priorities in mind, creating peaceful environment for all to co-exist!
      1. V
        Jul 21, 2017 at 9:50 pm
        Not only for India and Afghanistan their trained disciples have separated and are creating their own networks by brainwashing youth and playing havoc world over by spreading terror in every nook and corner. Now only US has found that this spread of terrorism and now hitting US assests has happened because of overlooking pakistan and its establishment which has been keeping secret relations with terror groups by harbouring and providing them with safe houses as done in case of osama and other terrorists.
        1. S
          Shafted mohammed
          Jul 21, 2017 at 7:40 pm
          You know it well why this aid to Pakistan and why not call Pakistan terrorist state and put economic sanctions.
          1. Faku Faking
            Jul 21, 2017 at 8:17 pm
            1. S
              Jul 22, 2017 at 6:02 am
              Then Why India trades with Terrorists Islamic Republic of Pakistan? Why diplomatic relations? Why Indians buy Chinese goods ? Why do you watch Muslim Terrorists financed movies which profit is used for sponsoring Muslim terrorism?
            2. V
              Jul 21, 2017 at 7:24 pm
              CIA taught ISI terror tools, USA created frankenstein. Pakistan got billions and butchered 1000s of American. Violence get violence. UPA, Congress were cowardly, played in to ISI. Pakistan controlled hawala trade, drug, blackmailed UPA, bribed to destroy India. NC, PGP got easy money to look other way. So SG, UPA, NC play to terror, because terrorists ISI will give all details. IE can educate nation
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