US catches Afghan govt 'red handed' in plotting with Pakistani Taliban: Report

Published: October 29, 2013
Karzai is furious at having been caught playing dirty. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Karzai is furious at having been caught playing dirty. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

The United States has caught the Afghan government secretly conniving with the Pakistani Taliban in an attempt to acquire a stronger position in a regional power game, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the “disrupted plan involved Afghan intelligence trying to work with the Pakistan Taliban, allies of al Qaeda, in order to find a trump card in a baroque regional power game that is likely to intensify after the American withdrawal next year, the officials said. And what started the hard feelings was that the Americans caught them red-handed.”

The article comes just as a tripartite meeting between Nawaz Sharif, Hamid Karzai and David Cameron got underway in London, a meeting in which Karzai reportedly planned to push Pakistan into revealing the locations for Mullah Baradar.

Afghan govt caught transporting Latif Mehsud to Kabul

Tipped off to the plan, United States Special Forces “raided an Afghan convoy that was ushering a senior Pakistan Taliban militant, Latif Mehsud, to Kabul for secret talks last month, and now have Mehsud in custody.

“Publicly, the Afghan government has described Mehsud as an insurgent peace emissary. But according to Afghan officials, the ultimate plan was to take revenge on the Pakistani military.”

The New York Times further reported that a “favorite complaint of Afghan officials is how Pakistani military intelligence has sheltered and nurtured the Taliban and supported their insurgency against the Afghan government.

“Now, not content to be merely the target of a proxy war, the Afghan government decided to recruit proxies of its own by seeking to aid the Pakistan Taliban in their fight against Pakistan’s security forces, according to Afghan officials. And they were beginning to make progress over the past year, they say, before the American raid exposed them.”

The raid and the Afghan anger resulting from it was reported in news months ago, but the purpose and other details behind the Afghan plan have only now come to light.

Afghan officials claim that the Afghans thought they could “later gain an advantage in negotiations with the Pakistani government by offering to back off their support for the militants.”

Aiding the Pakistani Taliban was, the Afghans say, an “opportunity to bring peace on our terms.”

The New York Times acknowledged that the botched Afghan operation will now lend weight to Pakistani claims of militants in Afghanistan presenting Pakistan with a constant threat, claims which nobody in the international community previously heeded.

“American officials said they were also worried that the Afghan actions would give credibility to Pakistani complaints that enemies based in Afghanistan presented them with a threat equivalent to the Afghan insurgency.”

‘Mutually beneficial relationship’

Karzai is reportedly furious at the US action, while a former Afghan official claims Afghans merely wanted a ‘mutually beneficial relationship’ with the Pakistani Taliban.

“In the Afghan telling, the theft of their prized intelligence asset is an egregious example of American bullying, and President Hamid Karzai remains furious about it.”

“Afghan officials dismissed American admonishments about the dangers of working with militants as the kind of condescension they have come to expect. No one in Karzai’s government was naïve enough to believe they could turn the Pakistan Taliban into a reliable proxy, said a former Afghan official familiar with the matter.

“‘I would describe what we wanted to do was foster a mutually beneficial relationship,’ the former official said. ‘We’ve all seen that these people are nobodies — proxies.’”

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Reader Comments (81)

  • Indigent
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:02PM

    You missed a few very important sentences in the NYT article:

    In the murk of intrigue and paranoia that dominates the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Pakistanis have long had the upper hand. A favorite complaint of Afghan officials is how Pakistani military intelligence has sheltered and nurtured the Taliban and supported their insurgency against the Afghan government.

    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.

    The thinking, Afghan officials said, was that the Afghans could later gain an advantage in negotiations with the Pakistani government by offering to back off their support for the militants.

    What is good for the geese should be good for the gander. In any case, Pakistan started it first.


  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:06PM

    Good, now time to expose India’s links to TTP, BLA, and other terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan against Pakistan.


  • Parvez
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:07PM

    Musharraf’s reading of Karzai was spot on…………he is not to be trusted.


  • RB Mian
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:07PM

    India is probably secondly largest investor on Afghan Government. So they will do whatever investor wants. TTP is suspicious organization since day one.


  • unbelievable
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:08PM

    LOL – it would appear that Afghanistan hasn’t learned from Pakistan that using terrorist as “strategic assets” has unintended consequences.


  • Asad Khan
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:09PM

    ‘I would describe what we wanted to do was foster a mutually beneficial relationship,’ the former official said. ‘We’ve all seen that these people are nobodies — proxies.’”

    ….nice going Gerry,

    Instead of courting with TTP just put half of that energy in eradicating corruption and taking back 3 million Afghan refugees back with honour will bring enormous strength that will eventually propel Afghanistan from mere geographical conflict zone to an actual country.



  • Babloo
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:11PM

    Afghanistan is not going to tolerate Pakistan arming Afghan Taliban and not counter-act it by helping Pakistan Taliban. If Pakistan expected Afganistan to behave like India and not pay back Pakistan in its own coin, Pakistan is mistaken.


  • just_someone
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:16PM

    Glad the world knows that EVERY country does something or the other in terms of extra curriculars. We and the the Americans are not the only ones!
    looks left and the looks right


  • Animal Farm - Desi
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:25PM

    This is going on by all including the US, Pakistan, Afghan, India, Iran and others for a long time – nothing new. Just give the right price and they’d fight for you.


  • Sodomite
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:25PM

    Snakes in the grass caught in their own vise. Muslim brotherhood? No wonder they are what they are.


  • laal topi
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:29PM

    Conspiracy theory obviously.
    Now that Gora saab has said it, we should believe it?


  • Bilal
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:29PM

    We already knew that TTP and its allies are bunch of thugs who play in the hands of India and Afghanistan.


  • Bilal
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:30PM

    We already knew that TTP and its allies are bunch of thugs who play in the hands of India and Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Paki
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:31PM

    Thanks heavens! Pakistan has never been indulged in such heinous acts. ;-)


  • Badal
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:32PM

    “Pakistani” Taliban are our strategic assets and they are Good Taliban. We love them and we are proud of them.


  • Oct 29, 2013 - 11:34PM

    its no surprise,,
    I salute our intelligence agencies who are fighting on multiple fronts,,


  • TJ
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:37PM

    Obviously Pakistan thinks that it is the only country that will fund terrorists(bad taliban) in another country and there wont be any reaction! Its time Pakistan ARMY stop funding terrorists in Afghanistan. We want peace in the region. we dont have money to fund terrorists or wars!


  • Syed A. Mateen
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:40PM

    Pakistan is surrounded by two enemies – India and Afghanistan.

    Tough both the next door neighbors want to have cordial relations with Pakistan, but at the same time both of them are stabbing Pakistan from the back.

    Are we still living in self denial?

    Pakistanis should open up the eyes are differenenciate between the friends and foes.


  • Jibran
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:43PM

    This makes him the best buddy of Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif, who think that TTP are doing great service to Pakistan, and are their national assets. There shouldn’t be any fuss from Pakistan.


  • What am I missing?
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:46PM

    US is strong enough o directly attack it’s or mentors. Afghanistan isn’t. So what is wrong if they chose to give Pakistan a taste of its own medicine I.e. support Pakistani insurgents just as Pakistan was supporting Afghan insurgents?


  • Hamid Gul
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:47PM

    Why is this such a sensational news! We have been caught red handed many many times doing terrorism in India and Afghanistan. Our Afghan brothers have just taken a leaf from our play book. Good for them really. We shouldn’t get deterred. Let all kinds of jihad continue.


  • we know it
    Oct 29, 2013 - 11:48PM

    It’s a known fact among intelligence circles that TTP and its splinter groups are afghan proxies and afghans in broader picture are indian proxies.
    Then they cry Pakistan is the bad one as it runs proxies in the region. The fact is if afghans and their masters had the right resources and knowhow, they would run a rampage in the region for their dominance.
    Pakistan security concerns regarding Afghanistan and Nato pull out are very real and serious. We have to do everything we can to secure ourselves from the eastern and western border hostilities.


  • Samir
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:01AM

    Pick up Karzai and you will find indian links. Nothing new.


  • Blithe
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:02AM

    True , we have been saying it all along.

    PTT are Indian/ Afgan agents.

    Karzai has a viceral hate for Punjab dominated Pakistan – books have been written about his hatred.
    And he has been mollycoddled for a very specific reason.

    Terrorists in Baluchistan have been traveling on Indian Pasports and picnicking in Afghanistan.

    It’s time to take forceful action .
    We have a window of opportunity – let’s not waste it .

    And let’s not waste another minute listening to Imran Khan! How delusional he is!!


  • Shahzad
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:03AM

    Will our PM find enough courage to show Karzai his true face?


  • Alii
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:06AM

    US knows everything and is a part of bigger game.
    May ALLAH mercy on us and forgive our misdeed and put us on right track. Ameen.


  • voice
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:07AM

    @indigent…..seems less informed….

    It was Afghan arrogant ruler Daod in 1950s started to destablize Pashtun and Baloch areas continuosly until 1970s….when Daod realized his mistakes, it was too late and his own Afghan communist brethren with help of USSR killed him and his entire family…

    So, correct your information.

    I am afraid, it may cause a great bloodshed of innocents in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India…after all the finance to Afghan officials are pouring from India and Pakistan is going back into Kashmir, and India has already sensed it.


  • Shahzad
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:13AM

    That highlights the significance of ‘strategic depth’. It was there in the days of Zahir Shah and its there today.


  • Babloo
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:14AM

    The Afghan brothers want to play the same game that Pakistan has been playing for last 60 years. Maybe India can learn it too.


  • Zen
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:30AM

    USA is just scarring Karzai so that they can have bases inside Afghanistan but if true, I would be the happiest person. Afghanistan and India has suffered for more that two decades from the epicentre of terrorism.


  • Zalmai
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:33AM

    This is no revealation. Afghans have the right to do what Pakistan has been doing for almost three decades, and it won’t end anytime soon.

    As long as Pakistan shelters the Haqqani Network and Quetta Shura, the Afghans will play by the same dirty rules and it will intensify in the future if Pakistan does not rein in its proxies.


  • Phoenix
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:36AM

    Never forget what pakistan did to afghanistan. Creating taliban destroying taliban… If ever this rumor is true, its not wrong what they are doing… Pakistan cannot keep sending terrorists to China, russia, europe, india etc etc

    If Afghanistan has dared it has dared right… !


  • Rex Minor
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:36AM

    Hamid Karzai is a Pashtun Afghan, New York Times on the other hands is Mr Nobody whose information originates from the corrupt State dept officials who know bugger all about the Pashtun culture and therefore speculate. It should not be a secret for any one that the Talibans are one people, ive and take the internal tribal rivalries, right is also to imagine that Pashtuns are generaly one against the foreign elements and by foreign elements I mean non Pashtuns as well.

    Rex Minor


  • ashar
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:43AM

    This is a news for the keyboard warriors only who build their opinion after reading two or three newspapers and watching TV talk shows. It is a well known fact that India and Karzai are behind all the mess in the name of Pakistani Taliban. Now NYT has break the news to the surprise of many who only follow the media for information, however we should follow the history for information not the media. And the history of US with Pakistan is no good we all know that.


  • Naveen
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:45AM

    Perhaps Afghanistan sees Pak Taliban as the Good Taliban fighting against the actual American Puppet in South Asia.


  • Truth detector
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:48AM

    Amazing, a country that has no economy, runs essentially on sacks full of US dollars wants to start a proxy war with a neighboring country. No wonder Bollywood movies are popular in Afghanistan since it seems their leaders live in “Bollywood Fantasy”.


  • saeed
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:50AM

    This news item has many ironies in it. All of Pakistan believe that all three US, India and Afghans are involved in proxy war through TTP. Now US wants to present themselves as clean (or may be totally inept). How could this be happening under their noses?


  • Babloo
    Oct 30, 2013 - 12:56AM

    If Pakistan can have ‘strategic assets’ , so too can Afghanistan.
    If Pakistan wants ‘strategic depth’, then so too does Afghanistan.

    Remember, Afghans were a separate and distinct country and culture before Pakistan.


  • Zen
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:01AM

    Yet you call them your brothers (APC meeting) and WANT to talk to them. Looks like everyone is selling Pakistan for a price.


  • SM
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:05AM

    Karzai and the men in Kabul forget that Pakistan is their escape route when the Taliban take over Kabul – an event that is not far away.


  • Umer
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:07AM


    We already knew that TTP and its allies are bunch of thugs who play in the hands of India and Afghanistan

    Why are Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif so desperate to appease TTP instead of eradicating them?


  • Armaan
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:18AM

    This is just to build up pressure over Karzai….. why now caught him…… for many years he was on a run here and there…… now they just did it for building pressure on Karzai government to sign BSA …


  • LuvShock
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:25AM

    Oh, I thought India and Afghan are our time tested friends and all they want is goodwill for Pakistan’s progress and relationship with the West. They both love any assistance or recognition Pakistan would have a chance for.

    That make sense when they incriminate ISI and Army in terrorism. I guess these are the only two institutions India could not work with or I say who can see right-through our “caring” neighbours` nice intentions.

    I wonder how Karzai will do his famous handshake and hug to Pak pm.


  • sid
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:36AM

    If TTP is CIA/RAW armed why will they catch there own man………..


  • TG
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:54AM

    An Eye for an Eye


  • we know it
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:17AM

    After the Soviets left in 1989 the various Afghan Mujahideen started a civil war which killed tens of thousands of Afghans up to sometime in 1995-96 when the Talibans took over and established peace (of a graveyard though) in Afghanistan. Was that Pakistan's fault for the feud?! No, the Afghans have themselves to blame for those things, including their elite trying to impose communism in a deeply conservative, rural Islamic society before the Soviets.
    `After the Talibans took over in the mid-90's, the Indians--yes, they are the real 800 pound gorrila in the room--started supporting factions against Pakistan. India would LOVE to have the Pakistani state facing two hostile fronts. And why not? It is in India's interest but is it in the interest of peace in the region that Pakistan has to support the ultimate barbarians like the Talibans to 'secure' its western borders? I think not!
    `This report conveniently ignores the high cost Pakistan has to bear from the militants since 2001. Before that year, there was only ONE suicide attack inside Pakistan (an Egyptian attacking a foreign interest, at that). But since then literally tens of thousands of Pakistani security personnel AND civilians have been killed by some of the forces which the puppet, corrupt, drug-lords supported Karzai regime is trying to support. Afghanistan was always very backward. But Pakistan was not. Not always economically at least.

  • ItsTime
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:29AM

    close the border. we have had enough of their garbage spilling onto our own land without having to deal with our own problems.


  • Xnain
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:30AM

    Don’t worry slowly and steadily, Indian Consulate will lose its status as a safe house for terrorists.


  • Xnain
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:37AM

    Karazi and comapany is caught pants down. A terrorist arrested in Peshawar yesterday confessed him being funded by Khaad. Whats worse is that Khaad is providing US weapons to its operatives in Pakistan. We should flag the matter with US authorities.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:40AM

    If Pakistani Taliban are Indian agents then what about Imran who is their best friend and supporter.


  • Xnain
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:47AM

    @Hamid Gul:
    Are you referring to Samjhota express which was plotted by your own army? or the Mumbai incident for which your government could only produce 1% of the evidence?


  • Ajay
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:57AM

    Well could Karzai trust Mushrraf or anybody in Pakistan? Karzai’s was clearly a reaction to Pakistani machinations. So Pakistan should get the blame.


  • Falcon
    Oct 30, 2013 - 3:35AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Out of curiosity, is it possible for you guys to notice a single problem in the universe without holding Imran Khan responsible about it?


  • Afghayur
    Oct 30, 2013 - 3:49AM

    Machiavellian politics at its finest. Bravo Afghanistan and NDS. Like they say in NY, yeeeaah boooyeee!


  • Zif
    Oct 30, 2013 - 4:54AM

    Great “buzkushi” going on between Pakistan & Afghanistan. Whatever started 40 years ago should be stopped now. We want peace in the region and space to heal our wounds.


  • objective observer
    Oct 30, 2013 - 6:35AM

    I assume Afghanistan should just allow its innocent people to continue to be slaughtered daily without any recourse.


  • Ajay
    Oct 30, 2013 - 6:59AM

    @Syed A. Mateen:
    What you call “stabbing Pakistan from the back.” is actually a helping hand to help change Pak intransigent Generals. Do Afghans have any other options to desist Pakistan?


  • someone
    Oct 30, 2013 - 7:31AM

    Its funny to see so many Pakistani so eager to believe US intelligence on this however would still consider OBL killing as drama :).


  • Chanakya_the_cynic
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:00AM

    Funny how the reporter ignored this line in the article “Not only has Washington failed to persuade Pakistan to stop using militants to destabilize its neighbors — a major American foreign policy goal in recent years — but its failure also appears to have persuaded Afghanistan to try the same thing.


  • Pragmatist
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:06AM

    So what? Pakistan has been doing this sort of a thing for decades. Let’s not start to turn hypocritical.


  • Faisal
    Oct 30, 2013 - 9:08AM

    Af cant win this proxy war. We will. If Af wants us to stop supporting T guyz in Af they should stop being pro India. As long as they r pro India and India is our enemy, they cant expect good from us. Its pretty simple. Be the brothers u r supposed to be and acknowledge some of the good things pk did fr u.


  • cmabid
    Oct 30, 2013 - 10:00AM

    Using terrorist as “strategic assets” has unintended consequences. Lets see what US withdrawl would bring in this region. Help us Lord!

    Afghans have themselves to blame for the situation they are in. After the Talibans took over in the 90’s, the Indians started supporting factions against Pakistan in order to make Pakistan’s western front hostile. Now TTP and its allies are playing (willingly or unwillingly) in the hands of India and Afghanistan. Musharraf was right in reading of Karzai that “this man should not be trusted”.Recommend

  • Israr Raja
    Oct 30, 2013 - 10:21AM

    it was started by USSR AKA Russia and Afghan communists………


  • Last Word
    Oct 30, 2013 - 10:31AM

    Afghanistan strategy to use Pak Taliban against Pakistan to counter the latter in its favourite game might backfire after 2014, when these respective strategic assets will combine and prove to be strategic death for both countries.


  • G1
    Oct 30, 2013 - 11:02AM

    Your videos in Youtube are awesome.


  • Hasan Mehmood
    Oct 30, 2013 - 1:09PM

    @Last Word:

    {Afghanistan strategy to use Pak Taliban against Pakistan to counter the latter in its favourite game might backfire after 2014, when these respective strategic assets will combine and prove to be strategic death for both countries}

    That indeed is the last word but it seems we are not prepared to learn from current history while using such short term / short sighted tactics for strategic goals.


  • objective observer
    Oct 30, 2013 - 2:53PM

    It seems you Pakistani’s only feel safe in a state of war there is so much paranoia. Really sad but if thats what it requires, you leave others no choice.


  • Indian reader
    Oct 30, 2013 - 3:01PM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan: Yes and Pakistan is the most “innocent” country of the world!.


  • LuvShock!
    Oct 30, 2013 - 5:36PM

    Sound like the terrorist have more clear view and plan to achieve their goal than either India, Pakistan or Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Mansoor Mahoon
    Oct 30, 2013 - 7:39PM

    Pakistan should sever relationship with Afghanistan. We have never shown any country that Pakistan matters. Throw all the Afghan refugees out of Pakistan. Why are they living in Pakistan now?


  • Ali
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:00PM

    It is in Afghani natur eto kill people remember the Afghan saying “Afghans are at peace when they are at war”


  • Ali
    Oct 30, 2013 - 8:06PM

    @Indian reader:
    Indeed, thank you for admitting it!


  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Oct 30, 2013 - 11:19PM

    Why are there more Indian Hindus commenting on this site than Pakistanis? Am I the only one that finds this strange?


  • Weirdity
    Oct 31, 2013 - 10:27AM

    @Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan: yes. How dare they act against Pakistan? Pakistan! Such a peaceful influence in the region which has always done ONLY good for Afghanistan. Why would Afghanistan stab the worlds best neighbor like Pakistan in the back? I just don’t understand this strange world….I am going back inside my bubble.


  • Nabeel
    Oct 31, 2013 - 1:56PM

    Yet we want to prefer talking with foreign supported TTP instead taking actions. We really miss Musharraf.


  • Gulkhaiz
    Oct 31, 2013 - 2:47PM

    @ ch Allah Daad. At best imran is confused and clueless ..and ..always criticising others with no plan of his own.


  • Insaan
    Oct 31, 2013 - 7:34PM

    @Indigent: “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.”

    Pakistan Taliban are controlled by ISI. I am sure Pakistani government told USA about this Afghan governments try to get connected with Pakistani Taliban. I hope Afghans will not let Pakistan play Taliban in Afghanistan again. Afghan needs to have its own non-State actors for dealing with Pakistan.


  • Sudhanshu Swami
    Oct 31, 2013 - 9:17PM

    Throw stone (Afghan Taliban) on Others, and expect they will throw roses on you.


  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Oct 31, 2013 - 10:40PM

    @Insaan: This is proof Indians should not comment on Pakistan, without knowing any ground realities. All your posts and the posts of your friends are pure conjecture. Find a better hobby.


  • Nouman
    Nov 2, 2013 - 10:31AM

    Great job , they are doing in their second jobs.
    The first ones being the real estate agents and urea dealers.

    Have you ever met any army man who does not run a estate agency.

    No wonder they cant do justice to their second jobs.


  • Radial
    Nov 5, 2013 - 5:18AM

    Pakistan government should make sure Karzai understands that he will not be welcome as a refugee in Pakistan after the completion of his presidential term. He spent a long time hiding in Pakistan in the 1990s.


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