US diplomats doubt Pakistan will ever fight anti-India groups: WikiLeaks

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WASHINGTON - A new set of leaked State Department cables portray US diplomats’ “deep scepticism that Pakistan will ever cooperate fully in fighting the full panoply of extremist groups,” as an insurance against India, according to the New York Times.

“This is partly because Pakistan sees some of the strongest militant groups as insurance for the inevitable day that the United States military withdraws from Afghanistan - and Pakistan wants to exert maximum influence inside Afghanistan and against Indian intervention,” the US daily said in a report from Islamabad.

In one cable, US ambassador Anne W. Patterson, who left Islamabad in October after a three-year stint, said more money and military assistance would not be persuasive, it said citing a document from the trove of 250,000 cables leaked by whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

“There is no chance that Pakistan will view enhanced assistance levels in any field as sufficient compensation for abandoning support for these groups, which it sees as an important part of its national security apparatus against India,” she wrote.

In what the Times called “a rare tone of dissent with Washington”, Patterson said Pakistan would only dig in deeper if America continued to improve ties with India, which she said “feeds Pakistani establishment paranoia and pushes them closer to both Afghan and Kashmir focused terrorist groups.”

The groups Patterson referred to were almost certainly the Haqqani network of the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group financed by Pakistan in the 1990s to fight India in Kashmir that is accused of the 2008 terrorist attacks in

Mumbai, India, the US daily said.

In another cable cited by the Times, US consul general in Peshawar wrote in 2008, that “she believed that some members of the Haqqani network - one of the most lethal groups attacking American and Afghan soldiers - had left North Waziristan to escape drone strikes,”

The cables, the Times said “make it clear that underneath public reassurances lie deep clashes over strategic goals on issues like Pakistan’s support for the Afghan Taliban and tolerance of Al Qaeda, and Washington’s warmer relations with India, Pakistan’s archenemy.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

Filed under: Diplomacy

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