Taliban Offensive in Afghanistan Enabled by Sanctuaries in Pakistan: Ex-US Defense Official

Taliban-sanctuaries-in-Pakistan-300x203A former top American defense official has said the Taliban offensive in Afghanistan is enabled by the group’s safe havens situated in the neighboring Pakistan besides an internecine struggle among different Taliban factions playing a role in the growing violence.

“At the hands of the Taliban. This offensive is enabled by sanctuaries in Pakistan. And it has also been enabled by an internecine struggle among different Taliban factions and with a new factor in Afghanistan, Da’esh, the Islamic State, which is seeking inroads there as well,” David Sedney told PBS during an interview published on Sunday.

Sedney has served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia from 2009 to 2013.

He said the insurgency activities by the Taliban group should be halted, insisting on peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban.

Sedney also warned that violence will persist and more will die if the Afghans are not assisted in their fight against the Taliban-led insurgency.

“The Afghan forces have done very well. But we built a large Afghan army. And the numbers are there. And the Afghans are willing to fight. The big problem is, is, we didn’t put in the enablers that Defense Minister Stanekzai was talking about, air support, helicopters, intelligence. We ripped those out of Afghanistan before the Afghan forces were ready to operate on their own,” he said.

Sedney further added “And we’re now paying the price. But the causes go beyond that. The Taliban have mounted in the last two years, since we stopped fighting, we stopped using combat forces, their largest offensives ever. More Afghans are dying today than at any time since before 2001.”

The remarks by Sedney comes as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for remaining reckless to act against the militant groups waging war in Afghanistan using the Pakistani soil as their sanctuaries, including the notorious Haqqani terrorist network and Taliban group operating mainly from it’s Quetta council. -KP

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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