“Pakistan now is a state sponsor of terrorism. There is no question that ISI supports the Haqqani network, which we regard as a terrorist network,” Zalmay Khalilzad, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and UN who was speaking at a Congressional hearing said on Tuesday.
“It is also clear that the Pakistani military and intelligence provide sanctuary and support to the Taliban,” Khalilzad who played key role in shaping American policy towards Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq after 9/11 said.
He described that Pakistan understands that its double-game is risky, but it believes that the risk is manageable.
Narrating his travel to Pakistan when he was serving as the U.S. ambassador for Afghanistan he said,” I asked Gen. Musharraf why Pakistan was sponsoring the Taliban, he denied that there were any Taliban in Pakistan.
He added,” Musharraf instead insisted that I provide him with the names and phone numbers of the Taliban in Afghanistan”.
He continued, “Years later, when he was no longer his country’s leader, he boasted to the world of his country’s support for the extremist group”.
Pointing to the killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a U.S. drone strike top former U.S. ambassador called for additional drone attacks against terrorist groups.
But he also suggested specific sanctions against Pakistani military and governmental officials saying drone strikes alone will not be enough without corresponding political and financial pressure.
“U.S. can impose financial and travel restrictions on senior Pakistani officials known to be complicit in the insurgency, and freeze funds in U.S. banks belonging to Pakistani entities – both military and corporate – involved in financing the Taliban,” he recommended in a prepared statement.
At the same time Congressman Brad Sherman who joined Salmon and other lawmakers in seeking action against Pakistan added,” Those who suggest giving aid to Pakistan need to give justification for using the tax payer’s money”.
The hearing titled ‘Pakistan: Friend or Foe in the Fight Against Terrorism?’ has been jointly convened by the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Trade and Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is scheduled to be held on Wednesday.