ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has successfully negotiated a new regional alliance against the foreign presence in Afghanistan is fast emerging, a former chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has claimed.
“Now this is the regional alliance that is emerging, not in the sense of an alliance, but at least they have started handling the foreign presence in Afghanistan in a coordinated manner,” Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani, Pakistan’s ex-spymaster, told Russia Today’s Sophie Shevarnadze in an interview.
“In the meantime actually what we have done… is that [we have] found allies in the region starting with Iran, Russia, China and now lately Turkey,” he added.
Durrani said Pakistan does not care about the US sanctions anymore because it hardly gets any aid from the latter. “Sanctions are alright… Already there’s hardly anything we get from the US… Dependence on America — that finished long time ago,” he said, adding that Islamabad was rather looking for countries which would offer cooperation in economic development in the region “to ensure that this foreign presence from Afghanistan is vacated.”
Responding to a question over new US strategy on Afghanistan, the former intelligence chief denied there was a change in the American policy towards the war-torn nation, saying peace in Afghanistan was in the interest of the United States.
“The policy still continues to be run by, to use a Russian nomenklatura, the deep state in the US runs the policy. Obama used to speak softly and his representatives used to come and threaten us — Hillary Clinton and others, the generals. In this particular case, the roles are simply reversed, because Trump is not in the habit of talking softly, so they said ‘you can go ahead, see what you do, tweet whatever you like to, but we run the policy’,” he said, adding the job of the US president was to only shout at some countries.
Durrani said the US wanted to keep a military presence in Afghanistan at all costs. “Essentially, the policy remains the same, and that is — you have dig in Afghanistan, stay there, keep the bases, keep the military presence, that’s more important than either peace there or settlement there or whatever else.”
He went on to say that Pakistan pushed the Taliban leadership towards joining the Afghan peace process but the negotiation process was sabotaged either by the Kabul regime or the US itself.