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The recent arrest of Latifullah Mehsud, the TTP’s second incommand, by the US forces and his subsequent interrogation has in particular badly exposed how Kabul has been fueling terrorism inside Pakistan by exploiting certain militant elements amongst the Pakistani Taliban.
Informed sources said that not only it has been confirmed that the recent attack on Maj General Sanaullah Khan Niazi and two other army men in Upper Dir was the work of Kabul and New Delhi but the later attacks on the Peshawar Church, in Qissa Khwani Bazaar and on an official bus of the Peshawar Secretariat were masterminded by the same nexus and by using the local militants.
Pakistani authorities have a lot to share in regard to the recent post-APC terrorist attacks but it is deliberately not making such information public to ensure that the peace process does not get derailed.
What is, however, seen as encouraging for Pakistan is the fact that the US-led Nato ISAF commanders have confirmed that there does exist “safe havens” across the Durand Line where some Pakistani militants are trained and equipped to launch subversive activities inside Pakistan.
The recent arrest of TTP’s second-in-command Latifullah Mehsud by the US-led Nato-troops and his subsequent interrogation has endorsed the Pakistani viewpoint on how the Kabul-New Delhi nexus was actively involved in terrorism inside Pakistan.
Shortly before his recent capture by the US-troops, it is said that Latifullah Mehsud had met key figures in Kabul, including top Afghan intelligence officials. According to reports, Latifullah Mehsud was arrested by American forces as he was driving along a main highway in eastern Logar province’s district of Mohammad Agha. It is said that American forces seized Mehsud while he was with the Afghan army.
Although, Pakistan has opted to keep silent on the issue, the New York Times on Wednesday reported how the US raid in Afghanistan exposed Kabul’s plan to turn the tables on the Pakistan Army.
The report said that a bungled attempt by the Afghan government to cultivate a shadowy alliance with Pakistani militants escalated into the latest flashpoint in the troubled relationship between Afghanistan and the US.
“Tipped off about the scheme, United States Special Forces raided an Afghan convoy that was ushering a senior Pakistani Taliban militant, Latif Mehsud, to Kabul for secret talks last month, and now have Mr Mehsud in custody,” the report said, adding: “Publicly, the Afghan government has described Mr Mehsud as an insurgent peace emissary. But according to Afghan officials, the ultimate plan was to take revenge on the Pakistani military.”
Kabul is really upset over this American forces raid and due to what a source called “singing” of Latif Mehsud. Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for Mr Karzai, is reported by the New York Times to have admitted, “Mr Mehsud had been in contact with officials from the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s Intelligence agency, for ‘a long period of time’.”
“The Pakistani Taliban leader ‘was part of the NDS project like every other intelligence agency is doing,” Faizi said in an apparent reference to the support provided in the Afghan Taliban by Pakistani intelligence. He added, “He (Mehsud) was cooperating. He was engaged with the NDS — this I can confirm.”
These developments are an endorsement of Pakistan’s viewpoint that external hands are involved in terrorism and no less than Washington has now undeniable proofs, but for the sake of the dialogue process Islamabad is careful.
As hinted by the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, groundwork for a formal initiation of the dialogue process has almost been completed and within the next few days some major development towards the dialogue process would take place.
Indirect contacts have already been established and those involved in the facilitation process sound optimistic. The government is keen to pursue the option of dialogue despite serious challenges and major hiccups whereas different militant groups are also prepared to positively respond to the government’s peace initiative.
To pre-empt conspiracies of those out to derail the peace process, not much is being made public. Though for others nothing has moved since the All Parties Conference, a lot has been happening behind the scenes and now the stage has come where a formal initiation of the dialogue process would be kickstarted.
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