Former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan and UN Zalmay Khalilzad has told a joint committee session being held here on the theme “Pakistan: Friend or Foe” that Pakistan views the Taliban as an effective proxy to ensure its dominance over Afghanistan.
“Pakistani proxies pose a severe threat to coalition and Afghan forces and civilians. It must be confronted if we are to succeed in defeating terrorism and extremism around the world,” said Khalilzad, one of the three witnesses summoned before the committee to brief it on Pakistan and its policies.
He alleged that Pakistan is playing a double-game by portraying itself as a partner of the United States, while at the same time extending support to the Taliban and the Haqqani network.
“Ultimately, Pakistan seeks the overthrow of the current government in Afghanistan because it is not compliant,” added Khalilzad.
He also reiterated his remarks of cutting off all assistance to Pakistan by the U.S. and warn that it will face escalating financial sanctions-like those once imposed on Iran-unless it facilitates reconciliation talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Senior Editor Bill Roggio of Long War Journal and Assistant Professor Tricia Bacon of American University, the other two witnesses at the hearing also echoed similar sentiments against Pakistan.
They said that Pakistan is distinguishing between ‘Good Taliban’, groups that advance Pakistan’s foreign policy goals and do not threaten the state or wage war within its border and ‘Bad Taliban,’ the jihadist faction that challenges the primacy of the Pakistan .
The hearing was held jointly by the House Subcommittees on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade and Asia and the Pacific, under the chairmanship of Republican lawmaker and Congressman Ted Poe and Matt Salmon.