After Kashmir, Pak Generals stare at failure in Afghanistan. By Manzoor Ahmed

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 Pakistan is not only stoking violence in Kashmir but also in Afghanistan where it finds its violent and deceitful policy crumbling fast. The Pakistan Army is on the back foot now, first with the failure of its Kashmir policy and now with Afghanistan slipping out of its control, the Generals are desperate to unleash violence in the region.

The August 16 terrorist attack on a highly protected mosque in Kuchlak, about 25 kms from Quetta, clearly has Pakistan Army’s hand. Among the four persons killed in the attack was the imam of the mosque, Hafiz Ahmadullah, brother of the Afghan Taliban supremo HaibatullahAkhunzada.

It was well known that the mosque was frequented by the Taliban leaders. The attack was clearly planned to target the Taliban leadership. It is no less significant that the attack happened just days after the Taliban representatives and US officials concluded their eighth round of negotiations in Doha.

Pakistan Army for some time has been miffed at the progress made by the Taliban-US talks and the manner in which its own role in the negotiations has deliberately been whittled down.

The Pak Army generals, their prestige  at stake in the dialogue, have been urging the Taliban leadership to go slow on the negotiations with the US. But the Taliban, which seem keen on taking advantage of its upper hand in the situation, has been pushing for an early settlement of the issues.

This divergence of priorities has rattled the Generals. With the possibility of this rift widening in the days to come, the Generals are hell bent on reining in the Taliban leadership. The first indication of the Pakistan Army’s anger against the Taliban, its own protégé not long ago, came with the killing of the Taliban Army chief, Sadr Ibrahim. He was on his way to Pakistan on August 15 when he was targeted by the US drones. It is believed that Pakistan Army had given the US Ibrahim’s coordinates.

A day later, the attack on the mosque frequented by the Taliban leaders in Quetta was an open threat by the Pakistan Army to the Taliban leadership.

These incidents are likely to exacerbate the rift between the Taliban and Pakistan. The Generals are therefore desperate to hold on to their toe-nail hold in Afghanistan at all cost, even if it meant launching a proxy war against its own protégé.

This desperation is also visible in the manner in which the Pakistan Army chief, General JavedBajwa, gave himself another three years of service. Bajwa is keen to correct the notion fast gaining ground in Pakistan that the Pakistan Army has failed both in Kashmir and Afghanistan. He has therefore been leaning on the Imran Khan government to announce the extension of his tenure at the earliest, three days after his army declared a war against the Taliban.

These manoeuvrings once again clearly establish that Pakistan will not give up its use of extreme violence as a State policy. The international community which has been keen on rescuing Pakistan from an economic disaster should do well to note that its generosity will not make any difference to a terrorist-sponsor State.

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