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US chose Taliban political office in Qatar to 'diminish ISI role' in Afghan peace efforts?

Islamabad, Wed, 14 Sep 2011 ANI

Islamabad, Sept 14(ANI): Media reports of the US endorsement of a plan for opening a Taliban political office in Qatar send an important message from America to the Pakistani intelligence community, that the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) may be left out of the Afghan reconciliation process, an editorial in a Pakistani newspaper has said.


The United States reportedly wanted to select a location 'outside Pakistan's sphere of influence', the Daily Times editorial said.


The Gulf state of Qatar has been selected and the US and its western allies will now be able to hold talks with the Taliban directly through its office in Doha, it noted.


"The move will definitely diminish Pakistan's ISI's role in the peace and reconciliation process going on amongst Washington, Kabul and the Taliban leaders," it added.


This also indicates the state of relations between the US and Pakistan, which has been a major ally of America in its war on terror, but the Raymond Davis episode, Osama Bin Laden's presence in Pakistan that led to the unilateral US raid and the consequent suspension of 800-million-dollar military aid to Pakistan have damaged their bilateral relations.


"These successive events have created a perception amongst US leaders that Pakistan is participating in efforts to reconcile with the Taliban in a half-hearted fashion, if at all; this coupled with the impression that the Taliban and other militant outfits in Afghanistan are the ISI's jihadi proxies, has not helped matters," the editorial said.


Both the US and Afghan governments have been apprehensive about the role of Pakistan in controlling the insurgency in Afghanistan, it pointed out.


The editorial said that while Pakistan has been a part of the ongoing Afghan reconciliation process 'off and on', both Washington and Kabul were looking for options that could provide them a "channel for holding independent talks with the Taliban. It seems now they have found one."


"The opening of the Taliban's political office in Qatar would enable them to carry forward the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process - a process the ISI may now be left out of" it said.


"It is time the military establishment revises its policy as regards the Taliban and other militant groups as the strategic depth policy has caused massive damage to Pakistan itself," it added. (ANI)


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