In comments today in the New York Times, officials with the Pakistani government admitted that they deliberately sabotaged secret peace talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban because they resented being excluded from those talks.
The arrest of Mullah Baradar and the number of other Taliban leaders had been initially spun as a major “get” for the Pakistani security forces, accomplished with the help of the CIA. In reality, officials say, all those arrested had been under the “protection” of the Pakistani government for years.
But when it became clear that the more moderate factions in the Taliban were engaging in peace talks behind their back, Pakistan’s security agencies rounded them up. As one official said “we are not going to allow them to make a deal with Karzai and the Indians.”
It is Karzai’s close relationship with India that seems to be driving much of Pakistan’s policy toward Afghanistan, including their not-so-secret support for insurgents in the nation. Pakistan’s defense policy toward India has long depended on using Afghanistan as a “fall back” position in the event of all out war. A pro-India government there could force a major strategic rethink.