Pakistan Desire to “Mediate” with Taliban Consistent with Earlier Reports of Deal to Support Karzai in Election Settlement

The New York Times reported on February 10 the following:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan has told the United States it wants a central role in resolving the Afghan war and has offered to mediate with Taliban factions who use its territory and have long served as its allies, American and Pakistani officials said.

Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, made clear Pakistan’s willingness to mediate at a meeting late last month at NATO headquarters with top American military officials,… (including) the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen; the head of Central Command, Gen. David H. Petraeus; and the commander of American and allied troops in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the official said….The national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, visits Islamabad, this week.

What the Pakistanis can offer is their influence over the Taliban network of Jalaluddin and Siraj Haqqani…

In return for trying to rein in the Haqqanis, Pakistan will be looking for a friendly Afghanistan and for ways to stem the growing Indian presence there, Pakistani and American officials said.

Jane Perlez, “Pakistan Is Said to Pursue Role in U.S.-Afghan Talks,” The New York Times, February 10, 2010

This report is consistent with the news report quoted here on November 11, 2009, describing a deal between Secretary of State Clinton and the Pakistani military in which the latter would “mediate” with the Taliban in exchange for the U.S. ending its negotiations with Abdullah aimed at forming a unity government, in order to avoid the need for a second-round presidential election in Afghanistan. As we reported,

NEWS TO NOTE Deal by U.S. with Pakistan Military to Undercut Abdullah in Final Discussions?
Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online, reported in the Asia Times Online on November 6, 2009 that, during her recent trip to Pakistan and prior to the cancellation of the second round elections in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had reached a deal with the Pakistan military to withdraw support for negotiations with Abdullah in exchange for active mediation by the Pakistan military in approaches to the Taliban.

Despite its obvious significance, the story seems to have received little coverage in the U.S. media.

The Trenchant Observer, November 11, 2009

The Pakistani military reportedly viewed Abdullah as too friendly to India. The Obama administration appears to have concluded that it could not disentangle itself from the Karzai government by upholding the principle of free presidential elections, and that Pakistani mediation with the Taliban offered a more hopful way for the United States to exit Afghanistan than the alternative of insisting on a second round of elections or forging a unity government.

The Trenchant Observer

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