“Pakistan’s security services maintain ties to Afghan insurgent groups, most notably the Haqqani Network, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) that has become an official, semiautonomous component of the Taliban,” CRS, which periodically prepares reports on issues of importance for Congressmen for them to make informed decisions, said.
Afghan leaders, along with US military commanders, attribute much of the insurgency’s power and longevity either directly or indirectly to Pakistani support, the report said, adding that President Trump has accused Pakistan of “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.”
US officials have long identified militant safe havens in Pakistan as a threat to security in Afghanistan, though some Pakistani officials dispute that charge and note the Taliban’s increased territorial control within Afghanistan itself, the report said.
“Pakistan may view a weak and destabilized Afghanistan as preferable to a strong, unified Afghan state (particularly one led by an ethnic Pashtun-dominated government in Kabul; Pakistan has a large and restive Pashtun minority),” the report said.
Afghanistan-Pakistan relations are further complicated by the presence of over a million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, as well a long-running and ethnically tinged dispute over their shared 1,600- mile border, the report said.
Pakistan’s security establishment, fearful of strategic encirclement by India, apparently continues to view the Afghan Taliban as a relatively friendly and reliably anti-India element in Afghanistan, according to the report.
“India’s diplomatic and commercial presence in Afghanistan—and S. rhetorical support for it—exacerbates Pakistani fears of encirclement,” the report said. “Indian interest in Afghanistan stems largely from India’s broader regional rivalry with Pakistan, which impedes Indian efforts to establish stronger and more direct commercial and political relations with Central Asia.”