Pakistan would back Taliban office in Turkey: Official

Published: April 14, 2011

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari (R) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands before a meeting in Ankara on April 14, 2011. Zardari is in Turkey for a four-day state visit. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ANKARA: Pakistan would back a plan to allow the Taliban to open a political office in Turkey to help with talks to end the war in Afghanistan, a Pakistani official said on Thursday during a visit by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to Ankara.

Muslim Turkey, which has hosted talks aimed at building trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan, has said it is open to allowing the establishment of a diplomatic presence for the Taliban on its soil, but that there is no formal request yet.

Analysts say that any solution to the Afghan conflict would likely require the support of Pakistan.

“As Pakistan we have no reservations for such an office to be opened,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

“We are not against it. As long as there’s ownership from the Afghan people and the Afghan government we will not oppose it,” the official told Reuters.

The proposal first surfaced during a trilateral summit in December between Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan in Istanbul, in which Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Kabul would welcome any offer by Turkey meant to facilitate talks with the Taliban.

Zardari, who is in Turkey for a state visit, declined to comment during a news conference on Wednesday with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul when asked if there had been any progress on letting the Taliban open such an office in Turkey.

Gul, who was asked the same question, also declined to comment but said, “Our contribution to Afghanistan will always be within the context of cooperation with Afghan authorities.”

A Turkish foreign ministry official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters on Thursday: “There is no application (for opening a Taliban office) yet and no decision has been taken yet. We will evaluate it when there is such a demand.”

Afghanistan’s former President, Burhanuddin Rabbani, who leads a council tasked with starting peace talks with Taliban-led insurgents, held talks with Turkish government officials in Turkey in February.

A joint statement after those talks said Afghanistan and Turkey would work “with all concerned parties in promoting the peace process in order to ensure successful outcomes”.

Afghan and Pakistani intelligence agencies suspect each other of secretly encouraging militant factions to launch attacks to destabilise each other’s governments in the hope of winning greater influence once Western forces leave the region.

Turkey, the largest Muslim country in NATO, has troops in non-combat roles with NATO forces in Afghanistan, and also has well established military-to-military contacts with Pakistan.

While US led NATO forces have built up troops in Afghanistan there is also a search for a political solution.

US President Barack Obama has promised to begin pulling out US forces in 2011, and NATO has agreed to end combat operations and hand security to the Afghans by the end of 2014.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Ron(Indian)
    Apr 14, 2011 - 6:50PM

    Turkey is more islamic in last 2 years. Turks are becoming much more ambitious to control central asia and indian subcontinent. Don’t forget the Mugals were turks with afghan, persian and hindu armymen. The Mughals ruled northen india. Though they got defeated in central india they made their presence felt in Indian history. Now the turks alredy got one slave country. time to see how the diplomacy works in the region.Recommend

  • Jamshed
    Apr 14, 2011 - 6:52PM

    From Tora Bora to now Ankara Office. Interesting …Recommend

  • Small heart
    Apr 14, 2011 - 7:39PM

    True colour of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Apr 14, 2011 - 8:12PM

    good stuffRecommend

  • AnisAqeel
    Apr 14, 2011 - 8:51PM

    Taliban offices in Turkey will be recognised by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and terrorism shifts from America to Europe and India/Iran. Great jump!!!Recommend

  • Cautious
    Apr 14, 2011 - 9:26PM

    Nonsense – more “photo op” diplomacy from Turkey – lots of press and no substance.Recommend

  • John
    Apr 14, 2011 - 9:27PM

    Now the terrorists have global address
    Next is UN membership?
    Short sightedness.
    Kaliafat is coming and this is the first step. Recommend

  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
    Apr 14, 2011 - 9:28PM

    @Ron(Indian): If you guys hate the Mughals so much, why don’t you guys stop cashing in on the Taj Mahal, and demolish it? It was made by a Mughal king for his Mughal wife in case you forgot.
    This was a news story about Pakistan, Turkey, and the Taliban; I don’t understand why the unwelcomed Indians have to jump on every story. Just admit it that you people are obsessed with Pakistan and Pakistanis OR you guys are here to instigate trouble, damn you troublemakers.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Apr 14, 2011 - 10:36PM

    So is it TTP : Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan, opening its ‘diplomatic office’ on Turkey or Teleban-e-ISI thats doing so ?Recommend

  • faraz
    Apr 14, 2011 - 11:01PM

    Turkish have historically supported Uzbek warlord Dostum, they have little influence over talibanRecommend

  • billo
    Apr 14, 2011 - 11:03PM

    @Ron(Indian): Nationalism gives way to some strange paranoias. The Mughals were ethno-linguistically Turkic people, but from the Fergana Valley in Central Asia, not Asia Minor which is modern day Turkey. Their primary influences were Persian, not Turkish. Turkic peoples are found across the region, from Central Asia to Mongolia, but that doesn’t necessarily make them Turkish. The Turks from Asia Minor, in the form of the Ottoman Empire, pushed as far east as Baku in the north and Bahrain in the south. But they never got to the Subcontinent. They realized in sharing a border with Persia that they were already overstretched, and so they never even had designs to get as far as India. After a post-Ottoman century spent internally stabilizing itself, Turkey is certainly trying to regain a leadership role in the Arab and Muslim world. But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for horseback cavalry from Anatolia to emerge over the Delhi’s horizon!

    Taliban offices in Turkey is a worthy diplomatic initiative, no matter how distasteful the Taliban are. The war in Afghanistan is the longest war ever fought by the US, and it is completely unwinnable. This is a good step towards exploring a diplomatic solution, and one that the US and the Karzai government in Afghanistan fully endorsed last year. And I believe it was Churchill who said its better to “jaw jaw, than to war war”. Recommend

  • Nasir
    Apr 14, 2011 - 11:11PM

    It is good to have a neutral country like Turkey in resolving Pak-Afg differences. Afg must understand, there is no place for India in her future. Indian interference in this region is destabilizing not only Pak but Afg herself.Recommend

  • indian
    Apr 14, 2011 - 11:17PM

    pakistan was always with taliban!!

    at one side it kills few taliban on the other side,it creates 10000 more for its future interests in afganistan!!

    India needs to test its ICBM and we need to tell turkey that India is his baapRecommend

  • Haris
    Apr 14, 2011 - 11:53PM

    great recommendation by Pakistan the taliban are the future for afghanistan whether people like it or not and the sooner they are recognized the betterRecommend

  • let there be peace
    Apr 14, 2011 - 11:59PM

    Pakistan would back Pakistan office in Turkey: OfficialRecommend

  • Fahad Raza
    Apr 15, 2011 - 12:00AM

    That’s the way to go turks Do create a scene for dialog. Now wonder Ron(indian) is freaked out lolz. Recommend

  • John
    Apr 15, 2011 - 12:39AM

    Now who are Taliban leaders heading this office.

    Why do they need office in Turkey for negotiation with Karzai and PAK?

    50 years from now, Turkey will be in the middle of the same conflict Taliban Vs Turkey.

    PAK and Afg will be supporting them.

    From frying pan to the fire!Recommend

  • Zapata
    Apr 15, 2011 - 12:47AM

    When rest of the world accuses Pakistan of her continued support of Taliban- why does establishment get upset ? This news item if true yet again proves that military through out these years protected them like a good mother would do for her child, with Saudis like a good father providing all the monetary support. Recommend

  • Nation Prevails
    Apr 15, 2011 - 2:18AM

    u fool Mughals especially emperor ‘s were descendants of Mongols kindly read history my friend. Babur first Mughal emperor was descendant of Genghis khan blood line.Recommend

  • Cherish Raj
    Apr 15, 2011 - 5:07AM

    @ No more Mr Nice Guy

    It is your culture to take pride in demolishing the Buddha statues of Bamiyan. We do not subscribe to those barbaric acts. Plus Pakistan has always been with the Taliban terrorists. This whole affair of hunting with the hound and running with the hare and pretending to be the ‘victims’ of terror is a stage show to extract money out of Washington.
    @ Nation Prevails
    We do not care where he came from. For us, he was just a barbarian. The blood line he claims from Timur and Genghiz Khan, is a representation of his lowly culture.Recommend

  • Asad Bajwa
    Apr 15, 2011 - 5:29AM

    Is not This THIS False Feelings of Grandeur that repeatedly brought Most Powerful Invaders, Alexander The Great, British Empire, Soviet Empire and Now USA and NATO to Afghanistan? Have these SUPER POWERS won in Afghanistan Against ordinary simple Afghans? Answer is NO. That Means those described above were not BAAP of anyone even if they tried to be. You have no chance absolutely to Become BAAP of Afghans. You don’t not have neither 10% face nor Attributes what these Occupiers Possessed. Bottom line is , This is none of your Damn Business. Stay in that Hindu India and shut up. Or you will be givena shut up call anyway. This Issue doesn’t belong to you. If your Nightmares About Mughals do not let you sleep at night , then take some sleeping Pills. ICBM , If could be some help< Soviets and Brits were not defeated . This is none of your Business at all. Go, and take care of Poor of India.Recommend

  • Ron(Indian)
    Apr 15, 2011 - 6:38AM

    Guys please chill. Mughals were outsiders. Their mothertongue was turkish. They proud to call themselves as turkish. Read the history. but the language of their court was farsi. Language of army was farsi+afghan dialets+ hindi dialets this is due to nature of the army. They built the taj mahal with the help of localites. Do you know who were the workers building taj mahal?? Hindu slaves later on they were killed to keep architorial secrets. Do you give brithish raj buildings in lahore and karachi to Englnd?? and how do you gonna transport these buildings to England? Relation between Arabs, Parsians(Iran) and turks is known to the world i am not going into detail. Turkey is becoming more islamic and by inviting taliban they proved me right. India does not have any bad relation with turks but countries like saudi, US, china, turkey love “Pakistani Rulers” for different reasons you know what i mean. Thanks.Recommend

  • pragmatist
    Apr 15, 2011 - 7:14AM

    @Fahad Raza:
    “Freaked out”? We’re quaking with fear. Imagine, Taliban, Pakistan and Turkey in a military alliance !! Please, not the “office” !! You can have Kashmir but don’t open an “office” for the Taliban in Turkey !! Have a heart.Recommend

  • hassan
    Apr 15, 2011 - 10:09AM

    @No More Mr. Nice Guy:
    ” If you guys hate the Mughals so much, why don’t you guys stop cashing in on the Taj Mahal, and demolish it?”

    That is a typical mindset; so, if someone hates something, he has to demolish it, right? Like the Taliban did to Bamiyan statues?

    Someone said, ‘Inside every educated english-speaking Pakistani, is a radical waiting to jump out.’ You are a classic example !Recommend

  • ABDV
    Apr 15, 2011 - 1:22PM

    All Indian friends currently steaming and fuming can do us all a favour – let’s open a Taliban office in Mumbai. Happy now? :)Recommend

  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
    Apr 15, 2011 - 5:52PM

    @Cherish Raj: “It is your culture to take pride in demolishing the Buddha statues of Bamiyan.” You are really stupid to equate Pakistani culture with that of the Taliban’s. Should I also put you in the same category as the Hindu fundamentalists namely Shiv Sena, VHP, Bal Thackeray, and company?
    @Ron(Indian): “Do you give brithish raj buildings in lahore and karachi to Englnd?? and how do you gonna transport these buildings to England?” Dude, you are the one with problems with Mughals and Muslims that’s why I stated my point. We don’t have major problems with the British like you Hindus did with the Mughals. The fact is you used the British to bring down the Mughal Empire only to realize that they were worse than the Mughals. And Ron, do me a favor and learn how to spell and use proper grammar.
    @hassan: “Someone said, ‘Inside every educated english-speaking Pakistani, is a radical waiting to jump out.’ You are a classic example !” Someone also said that ‘Every english-speaking Indian spends his entire life reading stories about Pakistan and commenting on them.’ You, sir are a classic example ;-)Recommend

  • hassan
    Apr 16, 2011 - 9:38AM

    @No More Mr. Nice Guy:

    Hassan told you this: “Someone said, ‘Inside every educated english-speaking Pakistani, is a radical waiting to jump out.’ You are a classic example !”

    You replied: Someone also said that ‘Every english-speaking Indian spends his entire life reading stories about Pakistan and commenting on them.’ You, sir are a classic example ;-)

    Now tell me, among the two who is most likely to be the suicide bomber?

    Hint: Faisal ShahzadRecommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Apr 16, 2011 - 11:50AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Keep it in your mind firmly that extremism and terrorism are created by prejudicial attitudes and US Sect. State Hilary Clinton has confessed herself in her statement that US is killing its own created Taliban because US supported Taliban fully in Afghanistan against the USSR and now when Taliban are against USA then they are called terrorists.Recommend

  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
    Apr 16, 2011 - 8:47PM

    @hassan: Your point makes no sense whatsoever. As far as your original comment is concerned about every English-speaking Pakistani, that could be anyone’s opinion maybe your own so it really bears no weight unless you can back it up with valid data and statistics. To make fun of your shallow and unverifiable statement, I came back with another “someone’s” opinion. And just so you are not confused anymore, let me clarify that someone was really me. The bottom line is anyone can say anything on the Internet and make false claims, just like you did and I was simply refuting it. So come back with a better comeback next time kiddo.
    And finally, Rajiv Gandhi wasn’t killed by a Pakistani English-speaking suicide bomber. It was some woman by the name of Thenmozhi “Gayatri” Rajaratnam. The alleged financier was a Hindu guy by the name Chandraswami. Both of these were neither Pakistani, English-speaking, nor Muslim. So before you make stupid comments again ‘beta’ go read your own history and come back with better opinions and facts. This should be enough to shut you up until next time.Recommend

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