David Sedney says US should learn from its mistakes in Afghanistan and should further focus on nation-building with continued pressure on Pakistan.
Former US Official Says Pressure Must Continue On Pakistan
The former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia David Sedney on Thursday said the United States must continue its pressure on Pakistan to end interference in Afghanistan.
Talking on Afghan war in Hudson Institute in Washington, Sedney said Pakistan has a prominent role in insecurity in Afghanistan and that sanctions should increase on Islamabad.
He said the White House has sanctioned Pakistan and has put pressure on it, but the pressure did not last for long time.
“We put sanctions, we held back. A coalition support fund which is a bout a billion dollars a year several times (was cut) for a period of months. But we always backed off, actually it always stood down. Lesson the Pakistanis learned, you can outweigh the US. So what we are doing right now, this to be continued. That pressure on Pakistan need to be continued, the additional forces that are there, they are not fighting, they are doing advising, doing intelligence , doing air support. They are actually making a big positive difference,” said Sedney.
Sedney said for Pakistan’s military government its own permanence is important than anything else and that Pakistan will not end using Afghanistan soil for its benefits and goals.
The US official however raised hopes that the new Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan looks like he will change Islamabad’s double standard politics.
“The Pakistani so-called deep state or intelligent-military state or whatever it is called, its number one interest is its own survival. And in that case, the use of Afghanistan is a rallying place or the place to put pressure on, not just Afghans, but also on Pakistanis who don't believe that the military should play this role. It can become very complex,” said Sedney.
Meanwhile, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to US and Sri Lanka, speaking at the institute said in theory there are two possibilities: the first possibility is that Pakistan really does not support Taliban; the second is that Islamabad is behind everything and wants to benefit from the peace process and political deals.
“President Musharaf in immediately after 9/11 didn't really expect the Americans to stay in Afghanistan for a very long time. So that is why he facilitated the whole operations. So his expectation was they will be gone in a few months, we will be back to being able to have Afghanistan as a backyard,” said Haqqani.
Former Afghan ambassador to Canada and France Omar Samad said at the event that it is about 10 to 13 years that Afghan government is trying to start negotiations with the Taliban, but he said that so far they have been unable to do so.
Samad said even a political office was opened for Taliban in Qatar, but they do not know the people reside in the office have connection with Taliban leadership or no.
“We have spent at least 12-13 years now. Once again 10-12 years in trying to start or even talk about talks, it hasn't really materialized. We have an office in Doha with a few Taliban who been there year for a few years now and that office seems to be a political office, that is supposed to be engaging or be engaged by others into talking with Taliban representatives. I am not even sure to what extent the gentlemen who are in Doha are directly connected to today's leadership,” said Samad.