With the Haqqani commanders in Afghanistan being assigned important responsibilities in the last few days ever since the Taliban takeover of the war-torn nation on August 15, experts feel that Pakistan wants to run the Taliban government and will have a major say in the important decisions taken by the Afghan militia in the days to come.
Leaders such as Khalil-ul-Rehman Haqqani has been appointed as the new security chief of Kabul, while the son of Haqqani network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, Abdul Aziz Abbasin, has been given the charge of managing the supplies of arms and ammunition to Taliban troopers who have been trying to get control of the Panjshir valley.
Referring to the series of new responsibilities given to important commanders of the Haqqani network, experts said that Pakistan would try to dominate the important decisions in the war-torn nation.
They also admitted that the Taliban at this juncture will not open a channel of confrontation with any of the other militant groups operating in the region, including Al Qaeda.
Noting that the Haqqani network and the Taliban, in general, have been the domain of the Pakistani military and its intelligence wing ISI since the late 1980s, former diplomat Anil Trigunayat said that they fought with the US, Saudi Arabia, and the Soviet Union in the past and since then, they have been closely connected with the Pakistani design.
“The Haqqani network is a key of Pakistan to hold the Taliban. It is also one of the groups which are against India and have been trained totally by Pakistan. It takes most of the decisions on the behest of Pakistan,” Trigunayat said.
The Haqqani network is a powerful group that is part of the Taliban but takes instructions from Islamabad, and the Taliban are not in a position to stop them, he added.
Similar views were expressed by defense expert Major General G.D. Bakshi (Retd), who said that Pakistan has been using the Haqqani group, Taliban, and other terror outfits to destroy Afghanistan. Now that the new Taliban have seized power there, Pakistan wants to play a pivotal role in Afghanistan, he said.
“Pakistan is trying to play smartly and it will pressurize the new administrative set up through the Haqqani network to have an important say in the governance of Afghanistan indirectly,” Bakshi said.
Another West Asia expert, Nishikant Dubey, said that within the Taliban, there are two groups — Pak Taliban and Afghan Taliban.
Pak Taliban comprises Al Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammed, which are in direct control of Pakistan and the ISI has been providing them all aid such as weapons, medical assistance, and free access to the country for long. Therefore, they will be working on the instructions of Pakistan, Dubey said.
“ISI is also pushing its trained terrorists to join the Taliban forces which are evident from the rising number of Taliban militia, which rose from 70,000 to around 1,10,000 in the last six or seven days,” Dubey said.
The Haqqani network is based out of North Waziristan in Pakistan and has been operating along the Afghan border since the 1980s.