Washington: Accusing India of trying to turn Afghanistan against Pakistan, former president Pervez Musharraf warned of “counter-measures” by Islamabad and at the same time called for a rapprochement between intelligence agencies ISI of Pakistan and the Indian RAW.
Fuming that Afghanistan enjoyed a relationship with New Delhi too close for Islamabad’s liking, Musharraf said it was time the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) exchanged notes over Kabul. “Since our independence (in 1947), Afghanistan always has been anti-Pakistan because the Soviet Union and India have very good relations in Afghanistan,” he told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank, Wednesday.
Accusing India of working to turn Afghanistan against Pakistan, he said: “We must not allow this to continue. We must not begrudge if Pakistan orders ISI to take counter-measures to protect its own interests. Now, India is trying to create anti-Pakistan Afghanistan. This is most unfortunate, and I am not saying this because I have some (Indo-centric) – and I’m anti-India. I know this through intelligence, I know this to be a fact.”
“Today, and just to give you one proof, today, in Afghanistan, Afghan diplomats, the intelligence people, the security people, the army men, all go to India for training,” he said, echoing an old Pakistani complaint, adding, “Now they go there, they come back, they get indoctrinated against Pakistan and, may I say, over the years … Afghanistan always has been anti-Pakistan because (the) Soviet Union and India have very close relation in Afghanistan. And the intelligence agency, KGB, RAW and KHAD of Afghanistan have always been in cooperation and talking since 1950s. So I think this needs a rapprochement certainly between India and Pakistan and rapprochement also between the two intelligence organizations: the RAW of India and the ISI of Pakistan.”
Former army chief Musharraf, who seized power in 1999, was the president when the US invaded Afghanistan to topple the pro-Pakistan Taliban regime following the 2001 terror attack.
Under US pressure, Musharraf stopped supporting the Taliban. But US and other experts say that the ISI has continued to maintain clandestine links with the Taliban and is upset with India’s clout in Afghanistan.
Pakistani officials say India is using Afghanistan to encircle Pakistan. Islamabad is bitterly opposed to the four Indian consulates in Afghanistan saying these are meant to spy on Pakistan.
Describing the current relations between the US and Pakistan as “terrible,” Musharraf said Afghanistan could plunge into conflict along ethnic lines after 2014 when American combat troops withdraw. “Are you leaving a stable Afghanistan or an unstable Afghanistan? Because based on that, I in Pakistan will have to take my own counter-measures,” Musharraf said, adding, The “adverse impact will be on Pakistan, so any leader in Pakistan must think of securing Pakistan’s interests.”