The Pakistani Army is the arsonist in Afghanistan which also wants to be part of the fire brigade, a former top Pakistani diplomat has said. The remarks by Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US, came as several American experts highlighted the role of the Army in the country’s decision.
Haqqani said Pakistan was an ally of convenience during the Cold War, but Pakistan’s main objective to compete with India has never been an American objective. “Therefore, American and Pakistani interests in the region don’t really coincide,” Haqqani said. “Another objective gets undermined as well, and that is that America, at some point, wants to leave that region, and it wants to hand over authority to a strong and stable Afghanistan government, which is not constantly confronted by the Taliban on a daily basis,” he told Cipher Brief.
“The problem is that the Pakistani military also sustains the very Taliban who it tells the Americans it will help fight. They are the arsonist and also want to be part of the fire brigade. That is the real complication,” he said. According to Bill Milam, former US Ambassador to Pakistan, for almost the entire period of Pakistan’s independence, the Army has been a significant factor in its political life.
“In recent years, the Pakistani military has used a variety of methods to squeeze the operating space of the civilian governments,” said Dan Markey from the Johns Hopkins University.