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Eyeing an upper hand in a baroque regional power game after the withdrawal of US troops next year, the Afghan government tried to work with the Pakistan Taliban with the "ultimate" goal of taking revenge on the Pakistani military, a media report said on Tuesday.
The plan of the Afghan intelligence of trying to work with the al Qaeda allies was "disrupted" after United States Special Forces raided an Afghan convoy that was ushering a senior Pakistan Taliban militant Latif Mehsud to Kabul for secret talks last month.
Mehsud is in custody but the "bungled attempt by the Afghan government to cultivate a shadowy alliance with Islamist militants escalated into the latest flash point in the troubled relationship between Afghanistan and the United States," the New York Times said in a report, according to new accounts by officials from both countries.
The Afghan intelligence was seeking to work with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in order to find a "trump card in a baroque regional power game" that will unfold once the American forces withdraw from the country.
Afghan officials said the thinking behind this plan was that the Afghans could "later gain an advantage" in negotiations with the Pakistani government by offering to back
off their support for the militants.
Aiding the Pakistan Taliban was an "opportunity to bring peace on our terms," the NYT report quoted one senior Afghan security official as saying.
The report said the US caught Afghanistan "red-handed" after its forces were "tipped off" to the plan.
Publicly, the Afghan government has described Mehsud as an "insurgent peace emissary" but according to Afghan officials, the "ultimate plan was to take revenge on the Pakistani military."
Pakistan has had an upper hand in the "murk of intrigue and paranoia" that dominates its relationship with Afghanistan.
Afghan officials have often complained that the Pakistani military intelligence has sheltered and nurtured the Taliban and supported their insurgency against the Afghan government.