The U.S Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats has accused Pakistan of using Afghan insurgents as tools to put pressure on the Kabul government in a bid to halt India’s rising influence in Afghanistan.
He said that the insurgent groups operating in Pakistan are posing serious threats to Afghanistan’s long term stability and they threaten the interests of the United States.
He said that Pakistan is seriously concerned about its isolation on an international level, adding that for this purpose, Pakistan has turned to China.
He also said that China is working to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean with the help of Pakistan.
In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Coats along with Lieutenant General Vincent R. Stewart, director of the defense intelligence agency, shared their intelligence findings with the committee.
The two officials also stated Pakistan had failed to suppress insurgency.
“Pakistan is concerned about international isolation and sees its position through the presence of India’s rising international status including India’s expanded foreign outreach and deepening ties to the United States. Pakistan will likely turn to China to offset its isolation, empowering a relationship that will help Beijing to project influence in the Indian Ocean.
“In addition, Islamabad has failed to curb militants and terrorists in Pakistan. These groups will present a sustained threat to the U.S’s interests in the region and to continue to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan,” said Coats.
He warned that there is possibility that the situation in the country could deteriorate next year.
“The political and security situations in Afghanistan will almost certainly deteriorate through 2018 even with a modest increase in military assistance by the United States and its partners. Meanwhile we assess that the Taliban is likely to continue to make gains especially in rural areas.
“Afghan security forces’ performance will probably worsen due to a combination of Taliban operations, combat casualties, desertions, poor logistic support and weak leadership,” added Coats.
When asked about Russia’s support to the Taliban, Stewart said that Moscow and the Taliban have been in contact, but he said that there was no physical evidence that Russia has supplied the Taliban with money or weapons.
“We have seen indications that they offered some level of support, but I have not seen real physical evidence of weapons or money being transferred,” said Stewart.
The findings of the U.S intelligence officers shows that Afghanistan will continue to struggle in its efforts for foreign aid, in combating insurgency and in reaching a peace deal with the Taliban.