‘US ready to cede three provinces to Haqqanis’

Published: August 27, 2012

Led by the aging warlord, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, the network has a stronghold in Paktia, Paktika and Khost provinces. But, the group also has foot soldiers – believed to be in thousands – in many parts of the war-ravaged country. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Far from the hostile public position against the Haqqani network, the United States is eager to seek rapprochement with the group blamed for most of the deadliest attacks against the US-led Nato troops in Afghanistan.

Washington is willing not only to engage the group in talks but also to give it an important role in the future political dispensation of Afghanistan, according to a senior American military official.

He said the United States would hand over the control of three Afghan provinces to the Haqqanis if they agreed to withdraw their support for the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan.

The official spoke to The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the subject publicly.

Led by the aging warlord, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, the network has a stronghold in Paktia, Paktika and Khost provinces. But, the group also has foot soldiers – believed to be in thousands – in many parts of the war-ravaged country.

The Haqqani network is accused of orchestrating some of the most spectacular attacks on US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan and is also credited with introducing suicide bombings as a major tactic of their asymmetric warfare.

“Neither the Americans nor Pakistanis can completely defeat the Haqqani network,” explained the American military official, citing the reason behind America’s willingness for peace talks with the group.

“We are ready for talks – but the problem is that the Haqqanis are really not forthcoming,” he added. “Therefore, we have no option but to use force against them.”

This is not the first time Washington showed its willingness to cut a deal with the Haqqanis. The group, though originally was not part of the Taliban, joined the ultraorthodox militia after it took over Kabul in 1996.

Following the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001, the United States had offered Jalaluddin Haqqani top positions – but he opted to fight them. The Haqqanis are considered crucial for the success of the Taliban insurgency.

The top US military official acknowledged that the Haqqani network was posing a real threat to the Nato/Isaf mission in Afghanistan. “The Taliban use IEDs but the Haqqanis have the ability and capability to cause the maximum damage to the foreign forces in Afghanistan,” he said.

Unlike the public position, the US official candidly admitted that Pakistan’s reluctance to go after the Haqqani network was linked to its fear of a strong backlash and not necessarily because it considers the group as its proxy.

“Pakistan can hurt the Haqqanis but General (Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani is reluctant to target them because he is worried about reprisal attacks,” he said.

When asked, the American official said that irrespective of the consequences, the US would want Pakistan to take a decisive action against the Haqqanis.

“Our objective is very clear that we want to dismantle the ability of the Haqqanis to target foreign forces in Afghanistan. If this can be done by bringing them to the negotiating table, we won’t mind that,” he said.

For years, the US has been pushing Pakistan to eliminate the ‘sanctuaries’ of the Haqqani network from the North Waziristan tribal region.

Recently, Gen Kayani indicated that Pakistan might launch an offensive in North Waziristan but insisted that such an operation would not be carried out at the behest of any outside power.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (62)

  • Nadir
    Aug 27, 2012 - 3:42AM

    Gen Kayani is worried about reprisal attacks if he takes on the Haqqani network, and we are supposed to believe his statements how “Pakistans defences are impregnable”?

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  • Prius
    Aug 27, 2012 - 3:59AM

    There is only one way that peace comes and that is through a US withdrawal

    There is no other discussion about this as the US interference is the obstacle to lastIng peace.

    Pretending to be ignorant of this will only make the obvious defeat look even worse

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  • Prius
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:00AM

    The US interference is not wanted in the region and is the barrier to Afghan/Pakistan peace

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  • Prius
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:02AM

    The US can’t cede parts of Afghanistan they have absolutely no control over

    There will never be peace until the US leaves

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  • Mala Khel
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:24AM

    So the demons are acceptable if they are on Amercian side.

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  • Homer
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:30AM

    ET really must stop concocting stories from the ISI media cell. It devalues what little standing the Pakistani newspapers on reporting facts. What is “disclosed” in this planted story is nothing short of a world exclusive that goes against everything the US is fighting against and that too from “top US military official”. Unnamed of course as he probably resides at the Kakul school of disinformationRecommend

  • Turab Khan
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:30AM

    this is pure pakistani propaganda and wishful thinking on pakistans behalf. the people of these provinces are much apposed to pakistan and therefore also to any thugs who are on pakistani payroll. pakistan as it is will soon be history because of its deceitful presence and policies in the region.
    once the reals masters of pakistan ie britain gives the orders to pakistan then they will ditch the haqqanis the next second like they ditched the taliban so cheaply. hope one day the blood of the innocent afghans which has been shed through this silly games played by our so called muslim neighbour will pay off and pakistan will get another lesson like 1971.

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  • londonistani
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:38AM

    taliban are winning the war. why would they accept three provinces if they are confident of taking over the whole country……………………………. sooner or later

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  • Wikileaks Cable
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:38AM

    If this proves real, nice scoop Tribune! You beat NYTimes to such a big story.

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  • @plarkin
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:40AM

    I don’t believe this for one minute. Lies.

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  • mahakaalchakra
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:51AM

    Is it the birth of Haqquanistan, a buffer state between Pakistan army and Afghanistan army or beginning of the end of Islamic Republic of Pakistan Army.

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Aug 27, 2012 - 6:12AM

    Waiting for denial as some one is floating there own strategic depth and to justify the use of non state actors to achieve policy objectives.

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  • Satan
    Aug 27, 2012 - 6:15AM

    So I see. Dialogues and negotiations by US. Isn’t that exactly what Imran Khan has been stressing on for last eight years.Recommend

  • Asad
    Aug 27, 2012 - 6:56AM

    This story whether true or not seems to be hurting some trolls from across the border.

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  • Asad
    Aug 27, 2012 - 6:59AM

    We are still waiting for the US to declare the Haqqanis as a terrorist group. Whats taking them so long?

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  • Falcon
    Aug 27, 2012 - 7:14AM

    This is an interesting news. I won’t discount the offer of peace in return for cooperation or just giving up support for Taliban since some informed analysts who have commented on Haqqanis have made similar observations that Haqqanis don’t plan to take over whole Afghanistan, they want to establish control in the three provinces mentioned above.

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  • Karachities
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:14AM

    @Homer:
    you may be an indian, most indians always want to listen news they like, do you forget USSR?? what happened to it in Afghanistan???

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  • Bilafond
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:36AM

    @Mala Khel: So this would be like two in bush or two in hand lol.Recommend

  • RS
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:58AM

    Now Americans found solution in British strategies of divide n rule. What a democratic solution, ending all democratic values.

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  • jahanzeb
    Aug 27, 2012 - 9:09AM

    Good move. Once they are in only 3 provjnces it will be easier for afghans and pakistanis to deal with them.

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  • Abdullah
    Aug 27, 2012 - 9:43AM

    @turab khan

    u talk as if afghanis havent done anything they are so innocent..its imp for us to save our country first..dont give us stories of muslim brotherhood..it doesnt exist nw .

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  • Indian Wisdom
    Aug 27, 2012 - 9:52AM

    ‘US ready to cede three provinces to Haqqanis’ ; But who are Americans to cede these provinces to Haqqanis. Should haqqanis get three provinces or the entire nation of Afghanistan must be decided only and only by afghans. Americans are behaving as if Afghanistan is their “Jagir” and they can give any part of Afghanistan to anyone as per their whims.

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  • Giri
    Aug 27, 2012 - 9:53AM

    Had this area been buddhist region, the Haqqanis would have been very peaceful people.

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  • Ali
    Aug 27, 2012 - 9:56AM

    @Turab Khan: my little mind Afghan brother,
    i have some questions, wants you to think about it:
    1. Haqqani Network, afghani or Pakistani?
    2. will you let ur enemy settle in ur neighbour hood? i mean india for Pak.
    3. think about great game in region, some terms are here, Piplistan, strait of Malaka, 40% of USA Defence force is there around Malaka.
    4. what are interest of Pakistan from Afghanistan. just to be a secure backyard? isn’t it?
    5. your hostpatility brought this evil giant in this region,
    6. Why pakistan becoming friend of Russia?
    7. why pakistan western border in hostile since after india given role in Afghanistan?
    8. what was the crime rate of AFG before 2001, though they were more than strict, i admit.

    Wish you Good Luck and peace in your life.

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 27, 2012 - 10:03AM

    @Turab Khan:

    “pakistan will get another lesson like 1971.”

    Even before I reached to this last statement of your comment, I already knew who was talking. Be assured anything like that will never happen again and the duet accounts will be balanced for sure.

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  • ahmer
    Aug 27, 2012 - 10:03AM

    @Prius:
    Are you on some kind of medication?

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  • Basit
    Aug 27, 2012 - 10:08AM

    Liberals are once again in denial about reality since it does not show the US as invincible and infallible. Liberals said the same thing when the news of JSOC/CIA networks inside Pakistan was raised in Pakistani papers. But then came along Raymond Davis, Shakil Afridi and the news of how Jundallah was supported by Mossad.

    The same thing will happen to other truths but the liberals will remain stuck on the wrong side of history.

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  • Hasnain
    Aug 27, 2012 - 10:09AM

    @Asad:
    A lot, actually.

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 27, 2012 - 10:29AM

    In my opinion this is nothing more than a desperate effort of “divide and conquer” by US. Even though I do not support Taliban due to their rigid orthodox Islamic beliefs, at the same time I also do not appreciate US/NATO presence in Afghanistan. Ideally, Afghan people should be deciding what they want without any foreign interference, but perhaps that is not going to happen. However, one thing they must know that only Pakistani people are their true friends because of blood relations while the others’ pretensions of friendship in actuality are nothing more than vowing for their mineral wealth.

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  • hamid
    Aug 27, 2012 - 11:07AM

    “Following the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001, the United States had offered Jalaluddin Haqqani top positions – but he opted to fight them”

    And the wise Americans still think Haqqanis are fighting for power.

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  • Aug 27, 2012 - 11:22AM

    Vienna,August 27,2012
    The ground truth is that Americans are not against the integration
    of a feudal Haqqanis meaning the Pashtuns in Afghanistan democracy.
    That will be good, save Afghani females their right to participate in
    government.In other words a revolution total in Afghan terms. Will
    Haqqanis accept the challenge posed by time is the question.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

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  • Aug 27, 2012 - 11:28AM

    “Neither the Americans nor Pakistanis can completely defeat the Haqqani network,” explained the American military official,
    The author has not disclosed its source of the above information. If the source is ISI officials, TTP or the Haqqanis It is a propaganda, that Americans are willing to cede three provinces of Afghanistan to Haqqanis. How it can be said when Afghanistan is not ruled by them they are in Afghanistan for a specific purpose to destroy the Al Qaeda and similar terrorist groups so that they do not have the capability to strike in west and nothing more ..
    . This also indicates that Haqqanis/ TTP are now afraid of Pakistani army and resorting such propaganda to end / delay the operation in north Waziristsan.

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Aug 27, 2012 - 12:36PM

    @Lala Gee:
    {Ideally, Afghan people should be deciding what they want without any foreign interference}

    Well said. Who can disagree? Except that TALIBAN never claimed that they want Afghans to independently (without any threat or coercion) decide what they want and TALIBAN would respect their wishes. They are not willing to let the Pakistani people decide what they want thru free / independent elections. They consider themselves on a divine mission and least care about public opinion. This is the crux of the matter which Taliban apologists like you can never comprehend. Otherwise who cares if majority of Afghans really want to live under Mullah Omer Emirate. Got my point? No you wont.

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  • Venkat
    Aug 27, 2012 - 1:01PM

    I think the US is trying to please the Haqqani network after having killed
    Badruddin Haqqani in a Drone attack. This way it can mitigate any fallout retaliatory actions.
    Venky

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  • enlighten moderate
    Aug 27, 2012 - 1:04PM

    world’s only super power , Best military machine! Whats up?

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  • Pan-economic?
    Aug 27, 2012 - 2:03PM

    Am I missing something, why does United States want its bases in Afghanistan? Isn’t that equivalent to China having its forces in Texas? So it appears, Haqqani’s aren’t red-indians who were killed and bribed brutally & inhumanely a couple of hundred years ago. They’re proving to be a smart and lean force stubborn to take the war to another 100 years. Pakistani citizens would be very insecure if Pakistan Army attacks the Haqqani’s and Utilitarianism does not approve of this – neither do I. Why should we Pakistani’s bear the collateral damage while U.S. citizens get the maximum security benefit? It’s time to take your boots off and go on a vacation guyys!

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 27, 2012 - 3:18PM

    @Hasan Mehmood:

    “This is the crux of the matter which Taliban apologists like you can never comprehend. Otherwise who cares if majority of Afghans really want to live under Mullah Omer Emirate. Got my point? No you wont.”

    This is what I said in the opening part of my comment in a very simple and straightforward way. Perhaps you didn’t read it.

    “Even though I do not support Taliban due to their rigid orthodox Islamic beliefs”

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  • Skintaj
    Aug 27, 2012 - 3:58PM

    Remember when British left subcontinent and left an unresolved burning issue of Kashmir behind for “”many reasons , now we know”" so this is the same kind of Agenda..
    Other thing is Afghanistan is of Afghanis, who is USA to make dEceisions for it.
    Pakistan Afghanistan are two brotherly countries and better future lies in the cooperation with each other. !!!

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  • Atif
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:54PM

    Hahahahahha, where are those Indians accusing Pakistan of strategic depth and terror as state policy, BEHOLD, this is how international diplomacies function. Now, pack your bags & try to find first available flight to India.. Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Aug 27, 2012 - 5:02PM

    How can US “cede” control of provinces which are already under Haqqani control? LOL!

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  • Saadullah
    Aug 27, 2012 - 5:21PM

    US Embassy sources refuted this media report. Please check up on your sources before reporting ET

    http://www.aaj.tv/2012/08/us-embassy-denies-to-surrender-afghan-areas-to-haqqanis/

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  • Arian
    Aug 27, 2012 - 5:54PM

    The Haqqanis are never going to rule any part of Afghanistan. This is Pakistani propaganda,nothing more nothing less.

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  • Aug 27, 2012 - 6:03PM

    We would like to notify everyone that the claims made in this news article are completely false. This is what Brig. Gen. Stephen Twitty, a spokesman for United States Forces-Afghanistan, had to say in regards to this news:

    “Assertions made in an article today in The Express Tribune that the United States is willing to cede Afghan territory as part of a rapprochement with the Haqqani network and that the U.S. sees the Haqqani Network playing an ‘…important role in the future political dispensation of Afghanistan,’ are categorically false. These comments, attributed to ‘a senior American military official’ are inconsistent with U.S. policy. Further, only the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has the authority to take political steps on behalf of the Afghan people.”

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  • antanu g
    Aug 27, 2012 - 6:03PM

    lol…..the demons are now allies….

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  • Aug 27, 2012 - 6:28PM

    U.S. Embassy: this story is “categorically false”: link

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  • Aslam
    Aug 27, 2012 - 6:33PM

    Time for General Kayani and Pak army to rethink and revisit their strategy. Operation in North Waziristan will start a new spate of suicide bombings in the entire country. Only a political government with the backing of people of Pakistan and with the support of Pak army can come out from this war.

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  • Roflcopter
    Aug 27, 2012 - 7:13PM

    @US Centcom, seems to me that the story is correct but you don’t want to admit it in public…oh and “only the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has the authority to take political steps on behalf of the Afghan people.” no we all know who exactly has the actual authority in Afghanistan and it’s not the puppet government for sure ;)

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  • tariq
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:24PM

    If true, it would be a step in the right direction. Let us be clear about the three end states we want ie a stable Afghanistan, a stable Pakistan and a secure US homeland with a peaceful withdrawal of ISAF from Afghanistan. Now, a stable Afghanistan requires that when the ISAF leaves, the poliitical system they leave behind in Afghanistan , to be sustainable has to be inclusive of all the stakeholders in the country, including the Afghan Taliban. You have to include the Taliban, because it is a reality that after more than ten years of war and presence of large no of troops, the USA could not defeat or wipe out the Taliban. So the sensible thing to do is to accept them and develop a system where they are a part of it. Otherwise , we will have a terrible civil war in the country have serious repercussions not only fro Afghanistan but also Pakistan . I would also not be surprised , that if some elements within the Afghan Taliban , try to exploit the Afghan diaspora in the west to carry out acts of terrorism, a phenomenon which has not been encouraged by the Taliban. Except for Najibullah Zazi, no Afghan has been found to be involved in planning or execution of any terrorist attack in the West.

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  • ali
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:27PM

    Another one bite the just..AKA Uncle sham…

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  • Pakistani Pakhtoon
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:38PM

    hw can US finish all these extremists sanctuaries when pakistan officially allow them on their soil. i think pakistan should make it clear now not only in afghanistan but also stop support in pakistan and you will see pakistan will progress for sure.. it will not work when you say that we are allies of US and at the same time your are supporting these militants which US and the world is fighting. there can be only one policy Recommend

  • Mard-e-Haq
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:50PM

    @Solomon2

    U.S. Embassy: this story is “categorically false”: link

    If I remember correctly, they were pretty quick in releasing outright lies in the Raymond Davis saga as well.

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  • KhuRram Kaleem
    Aug 27, 2012 - 9:01PM

    The haqqanis are indefeatable .nor Indian nor American nor Pakistani forces combined can beat the haqqanis.their strength is in their Unity.they are crossed married breed from the Pathan tribes.

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  • Aug 27, 2012 - 9:02PM

    @Skintaj:
    your attitude towards the Afghans if we see all these years was far from brotherly.

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  • KhuRram Kaleem
    Aug 27, 2012 - 9:04PM

    The Great Haqqanis are liberator of Azad Kashmir

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Aug 28, 2012 - 10:32AM

    @Lala Gee:
    “Even though I do not support Taliban due to their rigid orthodox Islamic beliefs”
    No Taliban sympathizer / apologist like Hamid Gul / IK etc supports Taliban overtly. They all say they do not agree with their tactics. Even Maulana Fazlur Rehman does not endorse their killings and slaughter. But at this stage (after loosing over 40,000 civilians and Army men), we need a much more categorical statement. I have read most of your comments and never saw any call for their ruthless elimination which is actual requirement not a mere drawing room condemnation.
    Please refer to my letter http://tribune.com.pk/story/425705/the-hypocrisy-of-taliban-apologists/ dated 24.8.12. To date no one has attempted to seriously challenge my accusation. Maybe you can try.

    By the way there is nothing orthodox or Islamic in their beliefs. What they preach is not even practiced in Saudi Arabia the most orthodox / Wahabi govt in the entire world. They are so successful because people easily get emotionally blackmailed in the name of religion. They think that if Taliban are rigid so what? Atleast they are fighting for Islamic cause.
    Wake up and grow up.

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  • Zalmai
    Aug 28, 2012 - 10:40PM

    @LalaGee

    “Ideally, Afghan people should be deciding what they want without any foreign interference, but perhaps that is not going to happen. However, one thing they must know that only Pakistani people are their true friends because of blood relations while the others’ pretensions of friendship in actuality are nothing more than vowing for their mineral wealth.”

    I beg to differ with your whole statement. Foreign interference and proxy warfare conducted by Afghanistan’s powerful neighbors has fragmented Afghanistan and its body politic and as a result of this fragmentation US forces will be required to stay as a stabilizing force to avoid civil war, which is what Afghanistan’s so-called Islamic brotherly neighbors want.

    Furthermore, neither the Pakistanis nor the Iranians are the true friends of Afghanistan and I am sorry to rain on your parade but Afghans and Pakistanis do not have blood relations; Pakistani Pashtuns and Afghan Pashtuns have blood relations and that is something entirely different.

    Afghanistan needs the help of the developed nations in exploiting its raw materials, to this end the Afghans have allowed Chinese and Indian companies to bid on these contracts not western business interests.

    The Haqqanis finally realized that there is more money to be made inside Afghanistan where they will be a part of the system and enrich themselves from the eventual revenue of the mining sector. Everything boils down to dollars and cents/sense at the end of the day.

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  • Eckhart johnson
    Aug 28, 2012 - 11:25PM

    The Americans forces will never leave Afghanistan, its just because the election are about to come in USA that they are talking about going away.But once the election will be over , there will be a major change in USA attitude. After the elections , Iran will be made another syria. The Americans will control the oil supply.After that there would be torrents of drone attacks on pakistani soil. To be honest, America always puts its self interest first(which is the best policy ), and any one should not believe that USA is friendly to the haqqanis or Talibans. After their role and use is over they will be wiped out. By that time , Pakistan would be in deep mess!!!

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  • Amob
    Aug 28, 2012 - 11:47PM

    This newspaper is a joke…

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  • Sep 3, 2012 - 9:41AM

    CORRECTION FOR THE RECORD, AUGUST 27, 2012
    1
    Correction for the Record

    Islamabad, August 27, 2012

    Contact: Rian Harris

    Am I right to paste it here?

    Spokeperson (0308-555-0591)

    101/2012

    The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad reiterates the following statement issued today from Brigadier General Stephen Twitty, a spokesman for United States Forces-Afghanistan:

    “Assertions made in an article today in The Express Tribune that the United States is willing to cede Afghan territory as part of a rapprochement with the Haqqani network and that the U.S. sees the Haqqani Network playing an ‘…important role in the future political dispensation of Afghanistan,’ are categorically false.

    These comments, attributed to ‘a senior American military official’ are inconsistent with U.S. policy. Further, only the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has the authority to take political steps on behalf of the Afghan people.”

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  • Pakistani
    Sep 7, 2012 - 4:15PM

    @Turab Khan:
    Keep dreaming Turab Khan…the world knows who is deceitful and thankless….the Afghan thugs and war lords….not the Pakistanis….One day the World will listen to what Pakistan has maintained always….after trying out their deceitful Afghan friends!

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  • Sep 11, 2012 - 6:12PM

    Yes they alreay. As a student of History, I’d comment that since creation of mankind the most difficult matter to accept for any Group/Culture/Sect/Cult or Nation is to Acceopt Defeat being a Human being.

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  • Damien
    Oct 9, 2012 - 12:43PM

    The Americans tried to bribe Haqqani to accept their invasion of Afghanistan for quenching the Yankee lust for power. He refused to be their slave and preferred to fight for the independence of his country and kicking the American Demon out.

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