US has unrealistic expectations with Pakistan on Taliban talks: Ex-ISI chief

Published: September 20, 2012
Former ISI chief says Pakistan “can’t deliver anybody” to the negotiating table. PHOTO: EXPRESS/ FILE

Former ISI chief says Pakistan “can’t deliver anybody” to the negotiating table. PHOTO: EXPRESS/ FILE

The former chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Ehsanul Haq said that the US has “unrealistic expectations” with Pakistan to bring Taliban leader Mullah Omar to peace talks, reported Business Week on Wednesday.

During a brief interview in Washington, Haq said that while Pakistan fully supports Afghan peace talks, it “can’t deliver anybody” to the negotiating table, the report stated.

Haq also advised the US to advance the “political track” with the Taliban in the time left before the US withdraws forces from Afghanistan, and added that the US should do whatever it can to revive the Qatar process and make good on pledges over a prisoner swap.

Connections with Taliban, Haqqani network

Rubbishing claims about the Taliban and Haqqani network having ties with Pakistani security forces, Haq told Business Week that Pakistan’s security forces conducted several raids on religious schools and homes of Haqqani network’s founder in Miramshah between 2002 and 2004.

“He was not there; he was in Paktia, Paktika,” Haq was quoted as he referred to two province in the neighbouring Afghanistan.

Blacklisting Haqqanis

On US’ latest move to blacklist the Haqqani network as a “foreign terrorist organisation”, Haq maintained that if it had to be done, “it should have been done seven, eight, 10 years back”.

He said that declaring groups “terrorists” when you are on a “political track” may prove to be counterproductive to peace talks.

The negotiation “process will have to be pursued more seriously with a sense of urgency even if the prospects for a successful outcome seem remote at present,” Haq was quoted.



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Reader Comments (18)

  • Cautious
    Sep 20, 2012 - 1:51AM

    Haq said that while Pakistan fully
    supports Afghan peace talks, it “can’t
    deliver anybody” to the negotiating

    After years of self promotion it’s nice to see Pakistani officials (retired or otherwise) finally admitting that they don’t have the clout they had been touting for years. Fortunately the USA figured this out on there own a long time ago. Further – the USA strategy for leaving Afghanistan isn’t dependent on negotiations with the Taliban or anybody else – the strategy adopted leaves a military footprint designed to achieve USA strategic goals which will keep militants in both Afghanistan and Pakistan from becoming a direct threat to the USA homeland.


  • jun
    Sep 20, 2012 - 1:51AM

    he was full General (r) Ehsan ul Haq not Lt General


  • gp65
    Sep 20, 2012 - 2:08AM

    IF the US has unrealistic expectations, guess who set up thsoe expectations? Yes. These expectations were set up when billions of dollars of arms were obtained from US free in ieu of help in WOT. As it turns out, Pakistan considers the people who die fighting the local insurgency with TTP as people who died in WOT. But support for WOT really has 3 parts:
    1) Disband safe havens for Afghan Taliban/Haqqanis present within Pakistan (which Pakistan has been unwilling to do).
    2) Use leverage with Afghan Taliban to bringthem to negotiating table (which it appears that Pakistan is incapable of doing)
    3) allow NATO trucks to pass through Pakistan (which it really gets paid for).

    Think about it the next time you talk about your sacrifices on WOT.


  • ...
    Sep 20, 2012 - 2:34AM

    This is true, but our expectations of them regarding the recent video are at least as ridiculous


  • dalwala
    Sep 20, 2012 - 3:14AM

    My general says its okay, you don’t help us with Mullah Omar and we won’t help you with TTP…


  • Sexton Blake
    Sep 20, 2012 - 5:45AM

    What else would anybody expect from the Americans? They obviously have an agenda, but it is only a result of utter insanity. Over the last 70 years or so they have come up with hair brained reasons for attacking about 37countries that were doing them no harm, and this type of logic, or should we call it non-logic, has increased exponentially over the last eleven years. In this time America invaded Iraq for false reasons and as a result over a million Iraqis are now dead, and the country is devastated. Similarly In Afghanistan, although the real death toll is not yet complete, and the only major improvement has been to bring opium/heroin up to full production. I am quite certain that any type of rational thinking and advise for the Americans will fall on deaf ears, and this ridiculous war will just continue.


  • Sep 20, 2012 - 6:12AM

    Agreed, very unrealistic expectations all around!


  • dalwala
    Sep 20, 2012 - 6:46AM

    @Sexton Blake, I asked my general who I work for as a translator and a cultural advicer the same question once and you know what he answered to my question? He said how can we leave the region when Iran is treating to destroy Israel and Pakistan selling nuclear technology to anyone and everyone with a right price!? He said that getting rid of Taliban is nothing, we can do it in a month if we really want to… we know where the leaders of these terrorists groups live in Pakistan but we don’t want to do this, WE HAVE BIGGER FISH TO FRY. The phone ringed and I didn’t have the chance to ask what he meant by “we have bigger fish to fry.” I believe the bigger fish is Iranian regime and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons… So why we don’t kick back and relax and watch see how this great game would be played by these countries… Its exciting, isn’t it? ;)


  • Sep 20, 2012 - 7:03AM

    How much damage Al-Qaida did on 9/11 and see how much Americans have done to themselves by fighting a lost war for10 years in Afghanistan… Somewhere a litttle Al-Qaida must be laughing and claiming to destroy their whole economy!


  • Sep 20, 2012 - 7:08AM

    This has become our acquired heritage with the USA. There is no point in always putting the blame on the Pakistani side.

    There are many painful instances when the USA has backtracked on signed contracts. Similarly, our people have also learnt to keep them at a safe distance. “Monkey see, monkey do.’ It is reciprocation and importantly, we have to stick by our self-defined positions in economics. Diplomacy being volatile and fluid can be re-interpreted to carry a dual fold meaning.

    Why, after eleven years are they declaring the Haqqanis a terrorist organization? Is it forcing our hand to attack North Waziristan? Any ‘quid quo pro’ or a ‘sine qua non’ will never, ever be worth it. The Taliban are better people to live with. They are one of us and us of them.



  • adam
    Sep 20, 2012 - 7:15AM

    @dalwala yaar america is complete broke i live in north america i know whats going on i agree with gen haq window of afghanistan is closed for yanks .bulls and bull crap from american media and people they r now in farsi pisram bood.i can bet on it they will do complete withdraw form afghanistan .


  • Sep 20, 2012 - 9:51AM

    You can host them but can’t deliver them to the negotiating table? Are you sure now the Terrorists are not hosting you, than the other way around?


  • Enlightened
    Sep 20, 2012 - 12:56PM

    Gradually, Pakistan is losing control over all of them as no terrorist group who has its own agenda wants to be manuvoured by its mentor for ever. No wonder, Haqqanis and Mullah Omar are no longer under Pakistan’s total control since they are sensing victory, hence would dictate its own terms for talks or no talks depending on the ground situation. Recommend

  • Chopper
    Sep 20, 2012 - 2:18PM

    @Cautious, Pakistan never claimed they had power over Taliban. Leave it up to trolls to twist everything.


  • Chopper
    Sep 20, 2012 - 2:25PM

    @Cautious, Pakistan never claimed they had control over Taliban. Leave it to trolls to twist everything.


  • G. Din
    Sep 20, 2012 - 4:59PM

    “The phone ringed “
    What is that? What did the phone do or what was done to it?


  • Sexton Blake
    Sep 20, 2012 - 6:58PM

    Dear Enlightened, BruteForce,

    Wasn’t destabilization of South Asia and the Middle-East part of the CIA’s plan 20 years ago when they started arming and training various groups such as the Haqqani. It has been a clever ploy really. Train various groups to repel the Russians and call them heroes. When they do the same thing to US invaders call them terrorists and blame Pakistan for the problem. They US are doing the same thing in other areas, but I think we should stick with South-Asia for now. Why doesn’t America do everybody a favour and get out of South-Asia. That way, everybody in the West will forget the Haqqani ever existed, if any American knows about them now, and they will completely forget terms such Al Qaede, Jihad and Mujahideen.ever existed in 3 months.


  • Abu Zulfiqar
    Sep 25, 2012 - 4:40AM


    military gear that were not labelled excess defence articles were paid wholly by Govt. of Pakistan….and that includes upgrades to P3 Orions, and upgrades to USS McKirney (OHP class frigates)

    you americans always assume that we just took freebies from USA without even saying “ThankYou”

    truth be told, the war is unpopular in Pakistan as is it in USA….If USA thinks they can change Afghan culture or nation-build through bombs and building bases, they are sadly mistaken

    this is all a ruse, just to control the Silk Route as well as have listening posts against Iran and China. If you think otherwise, you’re sadly naiive.


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