Pakistan is using “proxy forces” to carry out attacks in Afghanistan and India, the U.S. Department of Defense said, in a report published Tuesday. The report come just days after militants, believed to be affiliated to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, carried out an attack near the Wagah border crossing between India and Pakistan, killing over 60 people.
“Afghan-and Indian-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India's superior military,” the report, which is an assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan, said.
The Pentagon report bolstered India’s stand on the issue, as it has repeatedly accused the Pakistani government of carrying out a “proxy war of terrorism” in the region. The report also alleged that Pakistan is providing “sanctuary” to militants of the Haqqani network, a group reportedly considered by Pakistan to be part of a moderate faction of the Taliban.
According to the report, the Haqqani network “remained the most potent strain of the insurgency and the greatest risk to U.S. and coalition forces due to its focus on high-profile attacks…they will likely remain the most significant threat to coalition forces in the post-2014 non-combat mission, especially if they are not denied sanctuary in Pakistan.”
Militants of the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba, another Pakistan-based militant group, were suspected of being behind an attack carried out earlier this year on the Indian consulate in the Afghan city of Herat.
The attack, which was carried out in May, “came three days prior to the swearing in of the new Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Modi is perceived as being close to Hindu nationalist groups, a fact that may have played into the timing of the attack,” the report said.
The Pentagon assessment was welcomed by India, which said that there is a “growing acknowledgement in the international community of the extent of Pakistan's involvement in international terrorism,” according to local media reports.