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Haqqani Network to dominate scene

Local media reported Saturday about treatment of Mullah Mansoor in a Karachi hospital, the port city of Pakistan. Though the reports could not be confirmed independently but had sent a wave of suspicion over motives of Pakistan. The so-called Taliban’s commander-in-chief Mullah Muhammad Akhtar Mansoor has been in the headlines after the death reports of Mullah Omar, because his appointment as the new emir stirred controversies. This time he has been in headlines yet in a different way. It is reported that he has been killed. Other reports suggest he was injured. It has been confirmed by the Afghan government that Akhtar Mansoor received injuries during infighting in Quetta city of Balochistan. The militant group denied the reports and bragged they will soon release an audio message of Mullah Mansour to confirm he is alive.

The report had made the situation a mix of murkiness and somehow hope and clarity about the new policy of Pakistan regarding militancy in Afghanistan and Afghan-owned peace process. If Mullah Mansoor was killed under the nose of Pakistani military establishment and by his comrades then for sure there will be shift of power from the Taliban to Haqqani Network. The insurgent network is in the good books of Pakistani policymakers and remained most active in Afghanistan. The network is not only a headache for the Afghan government but for the US authorities as well because it attacked the US forces several times. Haqqanis also attacked Indian installations. This network is also involved in kidnapping of affluent Afghans. The militant network kidnaps people to finance its terror activities—a method that has been quite popular in Pakistan—even the notion of involvement of the covert secret services of Pakistan cannot be rejected given that black money that is spent in terror activities.

Moreover, the Haqqani Network is not only well-known for the command structure, attacks on Afghan and foreign forces but for anti-Indian approach as well. Therefore, Pakistan sees more opportunities in Haqqani Network. Shift of power to the Haqqanis would make them more dreadful for Kabul and loyal servants to Islamabad.  This has been one aspect of the news but the other aspect had been ignored by Afghan authorities and mainstream media. That is why the Pakistani government is silent. It does not matter for Afghans if Mullah Mansoor is killed or injured because they are concerned about the place where the incident took place. We are ignoring this point. For the past several months, many Pakistani officials claimed that they are not supporting anti-Afghanistan elements. They also say that Pakistan was ready to support President Ashraf Ghani in resuming the peace talks with the insurgents. But, the recent development had proved that Pakistan is actively supporting the insurgents and would not help the Afghan-owned peace process.

They had grown and supported the Taliban and Haqqani Network as a strategic asset. Militants are trained in Pakistan. We shall not pin hopes on the recent meeting between President Ghani and Nawaz Sharif. Since it is clear that Mullah Omar and Mullah Mansoor lived in Pakistan, thus, the Afghan government should mount pressure on Islamabad to dismantle militant networks, as talks have yielded no results so far.

The pressure could be mounted through improved relations with other regional countries, especially India. New Delhi had helped Kabul in tough times. When Pakistan is sending terrorists against Afghan security forces, India is providing us scholarships, money for reconstruction and military support to fight the militants.

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