Afghan endgame: US peace overture to Haqqani network revealed

Published: October 6, 2011

US officials secretly met with the militant leaders, ISI arranged the meeting. PHOTO: FILE

WASHINGTON: American officials secretly met with leaders of the Haqqani network this summer in an effort to draw them into talks on winding down the war, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Wednesday.

“We’ve got no illusions about what the Haqqanis ultimately are,” said a senior US official said. But the “war is going to end with a deal. That’s what we’re trying to make inevitable. The more parties are involved in talking, the better the deal is likely to be.”

The official declined to discuss the talks with the Haqqanis, describing them as “early and not very well defined.”

The senior US official said there had been at least one meeting over the summer between US officials and Haqqani representatives, adding that the meeting was set up by spy agency ISI.

The meeting took place as the Haqqanis were stepping up attacks in and around Kabul, but before their most high-profile strike to date, the assault on the US embassy, which began on Sept 13.

The assault made the effort to talk to the Haqqanis more difficult, but the effort to get a peace process going has not been abandoned, officials said.

The State Department would not comment directly on outreach to the Haqqanis. Spokesman Mark Toner, citing previous comments by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said: “We have a broad range of contacts across Afghanistan and the region … these contacts are preliminary in nature.”

A Pakistani official said Islamabad began facilitating contacts with the Haqqanis late last year and set up the meeting this summer in a Persian Gulf country. The Afghan government did not take part, WSJ reported.

The US would not identify the participants; the Pakistani official said the insurgents were represented by one of the brothers of the main leader of the network, Sirajuddin Haqqani.

Sirajuddin told the BBC in an interview published on Monday that “not only Pakistan, but other Islamic countries, and other non-Islamic countries, including America, contacted us and they are still doing so.” He claimed that the US had asked him to break with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and join Hamid Karzai’s government.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2011.

Reader Comments (23)

  • Roflcopter
    Oct 5, 2011 - 2:54PM

    lol Hypocrites

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  • ABC
    Oct 5, 2011 - 3:26PM

    Hahahahaha

    US could not fight them and thus it is finding ways tobring them to talks

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  • Pakistani
    Oct 5, 2011 - 3:36PM

    There is some game beneath the US-PAK rift. NawazSharif was right at the APC. There is something fishy.

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  • Nasir
    Oct 5, 2011 - 5:05PM

    When both US and Pak have links with Haqqani’s then better to talk rather than blaming each other. US must come to the solution rather than finding scapegoat.

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  • Antanu
    Oct 5, 2011 - 5:10PM

    Where are my indian friends with their comments on this news item?

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  • Amjad
    Oct 5, 2011 - 5:44PM

    Nothing new, please work on something new.

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  • Imran Mohammad
    Oct 5, 2011 - 5:52PM

    So, this means CIA has links with terrorist groups too. So, by their own definition, they are supporter of terrorism and destabilizing Afghanistan. :->

    Now, will the US toady Indians & Indian’s toady Pakistanis on this forum speak now, please?

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Oct 5, 2011 - 7:05PM

    Yes CIA can have links with terrorist groups but God help you if someone else have …. the whole thing is a joke.

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  • AN
    Oct 5, 2011 - 9:08PM

    In simple words, Pakistani can’t have link with “terrorists” while US can. World is so unfair.

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  • khalis
    Oct 5, 2011 - 10:12PM

    they talked, they accused and now they are killing them in afghanistan.( 2 aide and commanders down)
    haqqanis are doomed to see the fate of obl.
    us will leave but with minimum possibility of coming back

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  • Aamir
    Oct 5, 2011 - 10:44PM

    This is not the same as supporting Haqqani Network, which ISI is doing.

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  • AN
    Oct 5, 2011 - 11:14PM

    Aamir

    How do you know that CIA is not doing the same? In this world, everything is possible.

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  • buttjee
    Oct 6, 2011 - 12:15AM

    It is double gaming THE US STYLE. No Shame, US can do anything and get away with it. Pakistan should also choose for itself an Afghan policy independent of US demands.

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  • Sultan Hijazi
    Oct 6, 2011 - 12:05PM

    Taliban refuses to talk and get into agreement while US forcing them to to talk peace with them ! What a scenario !!

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  • S.Imran
    Oct 6, 2011 - 3:44PM

    What a double game. On the one hand blame Pakistan for failures in Afghanistan and on the other negotiate with the same group. Height of duplicity and confusion.
    US better put your house in order, fight your own battle and do not try to make Pakistan a scapegoat. History reveals that Afghanistan has always been the grave yard of aggressor, better quit before you run like you did in Vietnam

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  • Pasha
    Oct 6, 2011 - 4:53PM

    Another acknowledgement of defeat by the Americans, they are trying to negotiate from a weak position and seeking Pakistan’s help to pressure the resistance… Karzai Monmohan honeymoon is just smoke screen.. Only Pakistan has ace card in this game!

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  • antanu
    Oct 6, 2011 - 11:43PM

    @Aamir:
    You have very confidence in CIA…well GOD save Pakistan

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  • antanu
    Oct 6, 2011 - 11:45PM

    Wonder…….there is no one from my beloved Indian side to comment on this item.Come on be a sport…

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  • Kashif
    Oct 6, 2011 - 11:48PM

    Lest we forget:

    The Iran–Contra affair also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials and President Reagan secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo. Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.

    The scandal was composed of arms sales to Iran in violation of the official US policy of an arms embargo against Iran, and of using funds thus generated to arm and train the Contra militants based in Honduras as they waged a guerilla war to topple the government of Nicaragua

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  • Fishy
    Oct 7, 2011 - 3:26AM

    Might is right.

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  • Idrees Kapadia
    Oct 7, 2011 - 3:31AM

    All Hindu RSS Terrorists have disappeared from this Forum after this News. After this, There is no argument left. These Hindu terrorists are no fiends of Muslims . Recognize these terrorist sand 50% job i done.

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  • Ghaznavi
    Oct 7, 2011 - 9:55AM

    All Indians ran away because they dont want to upset their new master Uncle Sam..

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  • Someone
    Oct 7, 2011 - 7:05PM

    Waiting eagerly for comments by Mirza, Cautious, naryana murthy, ashok, John B, etc.

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