“The large amounts of weapons and explosives used by the Taliban throughout Afghanistan showed they had the financing and logistics infrastructure to move this military equipment from their depots and supply chains in Pakistan to wherever such supplies were needed in Afghanistan,” said David S Sedney, who was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia from 2009-2013.
“Beyond equipment from Pakistani sources, fighters from Pakistan in most cases ethnic Pashtuns educated in extremist mosques in areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan were widely used in some of the Taliban offensives,” Sedney told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.
“While some of these fighters are from Afghan families that fled Afghanistan in past decades, they generally were born and raised in Pakistan and often made their first trip to Afghanistan in order to fight or to carry out suicide attacks,” he said.
Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Sedney said the attacks in Kabul and Khowst, to him bore all the signatures of the Haqqani Network, a Taliban group resident in Pakistan and with long-standing ties to Pakistan’s intelligence services.
Sedney warned that the Afghan forces will be at this disadvantage facing a well armed, well-financed Taliban that will, as it has for the past 14 years, have spent the winter refitting in Pakistan, holding senior level planning meetings there, and coming up with their strategy and campaign plan for 2016.
At the same hearing, Andrew Wilder, vice president, Asia Programs, United States Institute of Peace said the Pakistan military’s main strategic objective in Afghanistan is to ensure minimal Indian influence.
“For more than two decades the Afghan Taliban / Haqqani Network have been a central component of Pakistan’s strategy to achieve this objective,” he said.
“After more than a decade of unsuccessful efforts by the US and its NATO allies to convince Pakistan to alter its strategic calculus and stop providing safe havens for the Afghan Taliban / Haqqani Network in Pakistan, it seems unlikely that Pakistan will suddenly decide to fundamentally alter this policy now,” he added.