Pak uses ultras for proxy war with India: Pentagon

Delhi welcomes report on Islamabad's role in terror

Pak uses ultras for proxy war with India: Pentagon

In a blunt assessment of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, the Pentagon has told the US Congress that the country is using militant groups as proxies to counter the superior Indian military.

The report came close on the heels of renewed efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to draw international attention to anti-India terrorism emanating from Pakistan, and putting pressure on Islamabad to give up its “selective approach” in combating terrorism.

“Afghan and Indian-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistani territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India’s superior military,” the Pentagon told the Congress in its latest six-monthly report on the current situation in Afghanistan.

“These relationships run counter to Pakistan’s public commitment to support Afghan-led reconciliation. Such groups continue to act as the primary irritant in Afghan-Pakistan bilateral relations,” said the Pentagon in the report, which runs into more than 100 pages.

India on Tuesday said the report was yet another indication of the growing international recognition of Islamabad’s tacit support to the global menace.

“It manifests a growing acknowledgement in the international community of the extent of Pakistan’s involvement in international terrorism,” said Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin. Government sources said New Delhi’s stand was vindicated by the report.

Referring to the attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat, the Pentagon report said this was done just ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as prime minister.
“In May of this reporting period, the Indian consulate in Herat Province was attacked by a group of four heavily armed militants. The attack came three days prior to the swearing-in of the new Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Modi is perceived as being close to Hindu nationalist groups, a fact that may have played into the timing of the attack,” it said.

“In June, the US Department of State announced that the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba was responsible for the attack. Following the attack, former Afghan president (Hamid) Karzai denounced the attack and made strong statements supporting relations with India,” added the report.

The Pentagon informed the Congress that India continues to support Afghanistan, believing a secure and stable Afghanistan would benefit the region and facilitate economic corridors into Central Asia.

“India and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership declaration in 2011, which formalised cooperation in governance, economics, commerce, education, public administration, and security and law enforcement,” it said.

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