Pakistan’s Haqqani, Afghanistan’s Saleh exchange barbs over Taliban, Pakistan and Afghanistan

  • Haqqani says Pakistan should focus on institutions not individuals
  • Former ambassador to US says Pakistan’s drone policy “weak”
  • Saleh accuses Pakistan of harbouring terrorists


Exchanging various tongue-in-cheek quips with Afghanistan’s Amrullah Saleh, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani on Monday explained Pakistan’s narrative of terrorism and Taliban by recalling how it spawned during General Zia’s regime in the 80s and how the same “strategic depth” argument was still being used by the security establishment in the country.

He said that President Asif Zardari and Pakistan People’s Party government had to pay a heavy price for withdrawing from national security policies. He added that it remained to be seen whether Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would also leave matters relating to security and foreign policy to the security establishment in Pakistan.

Haqqani said the reason why Pakistan security agencies preferred to talk to the Afghan Taliban was because they believed that President Karzai and his other officials did not wield real power in Afghanistan. Also, he said, Pakistan feared that just like in the 80s, US again would abandon it to deal on its own with various groups in Afghanistan after the foreign troops pulled out in 2014 and believed, rightly or wrongly, that Afghan Taliban hold the key to stability.

When questioned by The Intelligence Project Director Bruce Riedel about the expected retirement of Pakistan’s army chief General Kayani this fall, which some people in the US believed was an even more important development than the democratic transition that recently took place, Haqqani said the overemphasis on individuals rather than focusing on strengthening institutions in Pakistan by the United States would lead it nowhere.

Surprisingly, Haqqani said Pakistan’s stance that US drone attacks violated its sovereignty lacked substance, especially since the strikes were taking place in areas where they lacked writ.

He also said Pakistan should have thought about its sovereignty when al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden operated in the country.

Amrullah Saleh, Former director of National Directorate of Security Afghanistan, disagreed with Haqqani and said Osama bin Laden did not violate Pakistan’s sovereignty because he was welcomed by every powerful quarter in the country.

He also narrated his meeting with General Musharraf back in the days, when he supposedly told the Pakistani dictator that Bin Laden was not in some cave, but in fact hiding in a settled area of Pakistan called Mansehra, which was very close to Abbottabad where he was eventually killed by the US forces.

“Musharraf had become very emotional and told me that Pakistan was not some banana republic and that how dare some low-level Afghan intelligence official make a claim like that. However, later we were proved right.”

Saleh also questioned whether the Afghan war would end when the international forces pull out from Afghanistan in 2014. “The Afghan war is between democratic space backed by US and extremist groups, the Taliban and al Qaeda, backed by Pakistan…this war is not ending,” he said.

He said the Americans said they were tired after a decade of war, but why don’t they put themselves in Afghan shoes and see how they felt after suffering war for 35 years.

He accused Pakistan of continuing to give safe havens and sanctuaries to all the current top leadership of the Taliban and al Qaeda just like it allegedly did with Osama Bin Laden.

“Suppose there is a Taliban office in Doha. Just ask where do the Taliban negotiators from here go to pass on the messages they receive from here. They take flights to Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore from Doha,” he alleged.

Saleh said that although they would like the Taliban to eventually participate in the democratic process, the Taliban know that by participating in such a process, they’ll be rejected by the people and therefore, he predicted, the Taliban would carry on with militancy even when international forces withdrew from Afghanistan.

“The Taliban want to eventually be like Hezbollah in Lebanon, a state within a state,” he said.


  1. Haqqani and Saleh are both chips off the same block, anti-Pakistani moles who support the Bharati point of view…Haqqani is in it for the buck, and Saleh for retirement in Dubai or Bombay

  2. You seem to have quick fix solution for everything. Being in denial will kill and disintegrate Pakistan. It has already sold or leased it's SW & Northern part to China. Except Punjab there is hardly any area where govt's writ runs.

  3. Economy kahan se mazboot hogi Aslam sahib? Us ke liye shiddat se mehnat karni padti hai. Mulk mein Aman ka aana zaroori hai. Aman ke liye mazhab ko sarkon Ki jagah ghar mein rakhna padta hai. Education ka role bohut ahem hai. Sirf Quran nahi, science, economics, history, etc. Jung ki taraf se dimaag hata ke aman par concentrate keje. Jihad mentality to badalna padta hai, duniya ke mumalik ke saath saath chalna padta hai, PHIR anti hai khushhaali.

  4. Here is an example: Virendra Kaul… one retarded inbred stupid idiot without a f-ing clue.. probably a citizen India and a supporter of their State terrorism sponsoring, riot inciting Government.

  5. Escaped ambassador has no credibility.He has approved himself the biggest traitor of Pakistan.Shame

  6. Pakie brothers u guys have been under anglo rule for so long that a lil fake and artificial state that as fact british and us created to run their agenda untill today and u guys thinking that its u the TeesMarKhans lol babu loog Phakistan ki lagam aaj tak angrez ke haato main hai if phakistan is a real country and made up of a nation then let ur army serve the country not the country and nation serve the army .

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