Pak will cozy up to Taliban if US exits Afghanistan, warns expert

      With the recent spate of blatant terror attacks in Pakistan suddenly showing the resilience of the Taliban despite the loss of their leader, experts have warned that if the United States pulled out of Afghanistan , Pakistan will make a deal with the outfit, with grave consequences for the region and world. Experts are of the view that while the US is undecided whether to send more troops to Afghanistan or not, it should ramp on its counterinsurgency operation in the country to prevent Pakistan from joining hands with the Taliban once again. Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and a South Asia expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, highlighted that if Washington fails to counter the insurgents, like was the case in 1990 and pulls out of Afghanistan, Islamabad would once again join hands with the Taliban to fulfill its vested interests. “If they have the impression we are going to … run again, they are going to change course and make accommodations with the Taliban they face,” The Christain Science Monitor quoted Riedel, as saying. He underlined that Pakistan is also a critical part of the Obama administration’s deliberations and favoured the view regarding sending more troops to Afghanistan to bolster the counterinsurgency operation. “More than ever, the Pakistani Army seems ready to take on these (extremist) elements. But how we act in Afghanistan is going to send a powerful message to the Pakistani,” he said. Paul Pillar, a former deputy director of the CIA's counterterrorism center, said the bombings in Pakistan underline the importance of targeting terrorist bases rather than fighting over territory in Afghanistan . “The Al Qaeda threat is not to be equated with control of a particular piece of real estate,” Pillar said.

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