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‘Pak proxy forces may attack Indian targets in Afghanistan’

Indian installations in Afghanistan are likely to come under increased attacks from Pakistani proxy forces following withdrawal of US troops at the end of 2014, an eminent US think tank has said in its latest report.

Prepared at the request of the US Secretary of Defence, the report by the Centre for Naval Analyses (CNA) said that post-2014, neighbouring countries like India and Iran will adopt a wait-and-see policy.

But this would not be the case with Pakistan, which may seek to influence the dynamics of the Taliban’s campaign against the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) post-2014.

“India will seek to stabilise the Afghan government by maintaining its investment and bilateral agreements. India may send a limited number of security forces to Afghanistan to secure its installations, which will likely come under increased attacks from Pakistani proxy forces,” CNA said in its report.

“It is unlikely that India will deploy security forces to help stabilise the Afghan government, for fear of being drawn into the conflict or risking another war with Pakistan,” the report said.

“India will, to the extent possible, increase its efforts to strengthen Afghan ministries and train Afghan National Army (ANA) officers in India,” said the CNA report adding that if India perceives the Taliban as regaining the initiative against the government, it may provide support to former leaders of the Northern Alliance and help them to rearm.

India and Iran are likely to share common interests in these areas, it said.

The report said it expects that the Pakistani military will remain focused on containing the fallout from Afghanistan inside Pakistan and will fight militants that insist on attacking the Pakistani state, while pushing as many as possible into Afghanistan to fight with Afghan insurgents.

“It is not likely that Pakistan will take further military action against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan. Pakistan will maintain its relations with the Haqqani network and will lean on the group to carry out operations specific to Pakistani interests? In particular, attacks on Indian targets,” the CNA report said.

Pakistan will seek to pressure the Afghan government through the Haqqani network, and may press for an increase in attacks inside Kabul, it said.

In regard to the Taliban’s leadership in Quetta, Pakistan will not disrupt their movements, but will use its control over insurgent sanctuaries to ensure that Taliban leaders amenable to Pakistani interests dominate the movement,it said.

Pakistan may also increase materiel support to the Taliban, including heavy weapons, especially if relations between Kabul and Islamabad deteriorate further after 2014.

“It will be difficult to monitor this activity, due to Pakistan’s past practices of moving weapons and materiel through proxies or making it openly available in arms bazaars near the border,” the report said.

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