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January 14, 2011

‘Pak policy on Afghanistan counterproductive’

World

REUTERS
January 14, 2011

LAHORE
Renowned journalist and Afghanistan affairs expert Ahmed Rashid has said that Pakistan’s dual policy vis-i-vis Afghanistan was flawed and proved counter-productive for the interests of our country.
He was speaking at a round-table conference on reviewing the decade-long counter-terrorism struggle. The discussion was organized by a non-profit Islamabad-based think-tank.
Author and journalist Khaled Ahmed, Lt-Gen (retd) Talat Masood, researcher Imtiaz Gul and scholar Naveed Shinwari also participated in the discussion.
Rashid said it was time for Pakistan to say good-bye to the double-game it had been playing in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan should whole-heartedly pursue the counter-terrorism struggle and should not be reluctant to go into North Waziristan. A coordinated and concerted political and military strategy was the need of the hour in the Fata, he added.
‘The problem is that the Army is the sole incharge of the policy in the Fata, there has to be a significant civilian input in the process,’ said Rashid.
Leading defence analyst Lt-Gen (retd) Talat Masood said that it was high time for Pakistan to decide how war it was. ‘If it is the US war, we should disengage ourselves from the Fata; but if it was Pakistan’s we must employ a concerted counter-insurgency strategy,’ he said. He said that any counter-terrorism measure should be accompanied by the development package, especially in education and employment.

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