Good Taliban are not our problem, adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister says

We’ve written quite a bit about the Pakistani military and political establishment’s support of or indifference to the so-called “good Taliban,” or the Taliban and jihadist groups that do not wage jihad inside Pakistan yet enable those groups that do. In fact, our reporting on this subject is the primary reason that the Pakistani government has banned The Long War Journal inside its country.

Yesterday, Sartaj Aziz, the adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, spoke about this issue. The report on his talk, from Dawn, is republished below. Aziz is smart enough to not voice his support of the good Taliban — groups such as the Haqqani Network and the Hafiz Gul Bahadar Group, both of which wage jihad against the US in Afghanistan while sheltering and supporting al Qaeda and other international jihadist groups. Instead, Aziz makes the “it’s not our problem” argument:

Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz on Monday said that Pakistan should not target militants who do not threaten the country’s security.

“Why should America’s enemies unnecessarily become our enemies,” Sartaj Aziz said during an interview with BBC Urdu.

“When the United States attacked Afghanistan, all those that were trained and armed were pushed towards us.

“Some of them were dangerous for us and some are not. Why must we make enemies out of them all?,” he said when speaking about the Haqqani Network.

He further said that the Afghan Taliban are Afghanistan’s problem and Haqqani Network is a part of it.

“It’s the job of the Afghan government to negotiate with them…We can try to convince them, however things are not the same as they were in the nineties,” Aziz said.

For longtime readers of The Long War Journal, Aziz’s comments should come as no surprise. Since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Pakistan has operated just as Aziz articulated yesterday.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • DR Imran says:

    I totally agree. Pakistan Army has been a double faced policy on terrorism for many years now; Taking billions of dollars and support from US and West while supporting the terror groups like Haqqani network, Afghan Taliban, LeT, UIM, AQ operating safely from Pakistan to attack and kill in other countries of the region. Pak Govt S.S. must take heed and stop all or any kind of aid to it.

  • donowen says:

    International law is quite specific about military actions launched from one country by a third party into another. As long as the Taliban or AQ launch raids into Afghanistan international law makes not distinction between good or bad anything. Mr. Aziz is obviously ill-informed, as usual. Hot pursuit or preemptive military action is both legal and certainly recommended until the Paki’s get it right.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    The Pakistanis will never learn their foolishness of supporting islamic terrorists. No wonder, their country is a dump, when these Frankenstein islamic monsters are hitting the hand that fed them. Let Sartaj Aziz cry about America punishing islamic terrorists created by Pakistan. He himself will one day be targeted by them and he can then rot in his grave when they kill him with a suicide bomber !!!

  • “Since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Pakistan has operated just as Aziz articulated yesterday.”
    Amen, and with remarkable consistency, almost like trained actors reading from a script.
    However, I would dearly love to have an utterly private, heart-to-heart talk with Kayani. I’m sure he knows the dimensions of the various “boxes” in Pakistan (and India, and Afghanistan), and just might divulge those in total confidentiality.
    His background, and his actions, over the two terms as COAS indicate he’s furthest thing from a Zia ul-Haq.

  • David says:

    Why? Because it is an act of war, to permit them to attack us from your territory

  • blert says:

    The various Islamist franchises are Islamabad’s proxy armies — and have been clear back into the last century.
    Pakistani army owned chemical plants have been the sole source for all of the ammonium nitrate used in Afghanistan to make EIDs. ( common ordnance is boosted by ANFO — ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel oil )
    Pakistan is weird in that its army owns the state. In many respects it emulates the army-first mania of North Korea. Foreign assistance is always transmuted into yet more military power.
    Their nuclear program is a massive money pit. (Red Chinese technology imports, cash on the barrel-head) It’s astonishing how much of the national income it absorbs — to include all of that nation’s talent.
    Islamabad has an army that it can’t finance. Its rival has a growing economy. It doesn’t. This is the exact same debacle that did in Syria, stressed Tunisia, destroyed Libya and upset Egypt. Even now, Pakistan has a rapidly growing population. Its finances are a fright.
    Civil unrest could erupt at any time. KSA is ejecting foreign workers at quite a clip. Many are Pakistani contract workers.
    Islamism + Atomics + Civil unrest = A social volcano.

  • orion says:

    Terrorist groups should not be allowed to operate out of Pakistan against Afghanistan or any other country, but why must we fight those that are USA enemy? next they will tell us to fight Cuba. Maybe Pakistan should ask USA to come and fight alongside in Baluchistan where Indian sponsored baloch terrorists are targeting our law enforcement agencies. Sartaj aziz has a point, you may not like it.

  • Paul D says:

    Just confirming what we all knew that Pakistan do not mind hosting militants who attack other countries as long as they dont attack Pakistan.
    Will The UN and International community be happy with this offical policy?
    Stop aid now!

  • Arjuna says:

    America’s schizophrenic frenemy policy towards Pakistan is more to blame for this sad state of affairs than any Paki perfidy. I can’t really blame Aziz. He’s just doing what a Pakistani does. They’ve always been liars, sleeping with the enemy, and denying that they sponsor terrorists.
    We should never have ever trusted anything out of their mouths post-9/11 when the Taliban they nurture and protect helped Al Qaeda attack us. America is reaping what we’ve sown, sadly. In Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and most definitely in the Land of the Pure (Brigands), we see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe.
    It’s partly the political exigencies of our electoral system, but also the problem of politically correct lawyers trying to fight no-holds-barred terrorist insurgencies. It’s a real conundrum, because if we play by our patty-cake rules, we lose, as we are losing in theater after theater. (Sorry Peaches, Nagl and Kilcullen… COIN don’t work.) More and more these days, I’m beginning to feel like we should just kill them all and let Allah sort them out. At least we wouldn’t have to listen to their lies.

  • Shah Inamdar says:

    Pakistan has a valid point here. Why it should fight America’a enemies? And, also after seeing America joining hands with Pakistan’s enemies!

  • Mike. says:

    Sounds like an admission of no sovereignty.

  • PKJharkhand says:

    Pakistani politicians and Islamist terrorists see only win-win when they kill others. It is only by shedding blood and shedding more blood do they express their piety and Sunni supremacy.
    They don’t get it that their targets can understand and react. What they dont like is the reaction they provoke. You kill American soldiers in Afghanistan the US sends drones over with Hellfire missiles.
    Like a spoilt brat, Pakistan expects to do to others what it doesnt want others to do to them.
    Good luck with that approach.


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