Pakistan continues to support the Taliban and groups such as the Haqqani Network, to counter Indian influence in Afghanistan, said a new Pentagon report.
The report was prepared by the inspector general of the US Department of Defense. Issued on Monday, it covers a period from January to March.
The report came for the first time after an agreement has been reached between the US and the Taliban in February. Even though it was aimed at facilitating the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the deal has stalled due to differences between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
“According to the DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency], Pakistan’s strategic objectives in Afghanistan continue to be countering Indian influence and mitigating spillover of instability into its territory,” the report said.
“The DIA reported that Pakistan likely views increased Taliban influence in Afghanistan as supporting its overall objectives and will seek to influence intra-Afghan peace talks in a direction favourable to Pakistan.”
The DIA also reported to the inspector general that “Pakistan has encouraged the Afghan Taliban to participate in peace talks, but refrained from applying coercive pressure that would seriously threaten its relationship with the Afghan Taliban to dissuade the group from conducting further violence”.
The DIA also told the inspector general that “Pakistan continues to harbour the Taliban and associated militant groups in Pakistan, such as the Haqqani Network, which maintains the ability to conduct attacks against Afghan interests”.
In his message in the report, Sean O’Donnell, the acting inspector general of the US department of defence, said: “The United States and Taliban agreed to a [one]-week reduction in violence prior to the signing of the agreement, but Taliban violence during the quarter overall was high.
“In January and February, both the United States and the Taliban increased operations in order to influence negotiations. In addition, while the Taliban reduced attacks against US and coalition forces, it continued to attack the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, particularly after the signing of the agreement.”