WASHINGTON, Oct 4 Pakistan's relationship with the Taliban, a liability for the United States in the past, now becomes an advantage for Washington because it creates a trusted channel for meaningful communication with the insurgents, says Strategic Forecasting, a US think-tank, called.

“Logic suggests this channel is quite active now,” says the think-tank, which rose to prominence in the US for predicting actions that Al Qaeda and the Bush administration were likely to take after 9/11.

Arguing that establishing a true democracy or corruption-free government in Kabul is not America's responsibility, the group, also known as Stratfor, urges Washington to confine itself to making sure that the country is no longer used for creating problems for the US and its western allies.

Another major US task, the group argues, is the phenomenon of global jihad led by Al Qaeda.

“The American solution, one that we suspect is already under way, is the Pakistanisation of the war,” says Stratfor in an analysis titled, “Pakistan and the US Exit from Afghanistan.”

“By this, we do not mean extending the war into Pakistan but rather extending Pakistan into Afghanistan.”

Stratfor argues that the Taliban phenomenon has extended into Pakistan in ways that seriously complicate Pakistani efforts to regain their bearing in Afghanistan.

It has created a major security problem for Islamabad, which, coupled with the severe deterioration of the country's economy and now the floods, has weakened the Pakistanis' ability to manage Afghanistan. “In other words, the moment that the Pakistanis have been waiting for — American agreement and support for the Pakistanisation of the war — has come at a time when the Pakistanis are not in an ideal position to capitalise on it,” warns Stratfor.

It notes that in the past, the United States had endeavoured to keep the Taliban in Afghanistan and the regime in Pakistan separate.

Washington has not succeeded in this regard, with the Pakistanis continuing to hedge their bets and maintain a relationship across the border. “Still, US opposition has been the single greatest impediment to Pakistan's consolidation of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and abandoning this opposition leaves important avenues open for Islamabad.”

Stratfor points out that Pakistan is an American ally which the United States needs, both to balance growing Chinese influence in and partnership with Pakistan, and to contain India.

The US “needs its withdrawal to take place in a manner that strengthens its influence rather than weakens it, and Pakistan can provide the cover for turning a retreat into a negotiated settlement.”

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