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New Pakistan outreach could aid Afghan peace deal

October 27, 2012 • World News


FILE – In this Aug. 5, 2012 file photo, Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in the Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan. Pakistan has stepped up outreach to some of its biggest enemies in Afghanistan, a significant policy shift that could prove crucial to U.S.-backed efforts to strike a peace deal in the war-torn country.The target of the diplomatic push has mainly been non-Pashtun political leaders who have been at odds with Pakistan for years because of the country’s historical support for the Afghan Taliban, a Pashtun movement. (AP Photo/ Ishtiaq Mahsud, File)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan has increased efforts to reach out to some of its biggest enemies in Afghanistan, a significant policy shift that could prove crucial to U.S.-backed efforts to strike a peace deal in the neighboring country.

The target of the diplomatic push has mainly been non-Pashtun political leaders who have been at odds with Pakistan for years because of the country’s historical support for the Afghan Taliban, a Pashtun movement.

Many of the leaders fought against the Taliban when the fundamentalist Islamic group seized control of Afghanistan in the 1990s with Pakistan’s help, and have accused Islamabad of maintaining support for the insurgents following the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 — allegations denied by the government.

Many experts agree that Pakistan continues to see the Taliban as an ally, albeit a shaky one, in countering the influence of archenemy India in Afghanistan. But they also say Islamabad no longer believes the insurgents can take over the country or wants them to, a common misperception in the West.

“A Taliban victory on the other side of the border would give a Login to read more

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