With US and other Nato forces racing to train enough soldiers and police to take over completely and allow all foreign combat troops to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, Pakistan’s leadership has stepped up efforts aimed at seeking a ‘regional’ solution to the unrest in war-torn Afghanistan.
President Asif Ali Zardari is due to visit Kabul today and during his visit he is expected to hold talks with President Hamid Karzai to discuss issues of bilateral importance as well as counter-terrorism and peacemaking with the Taliban, his spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said.
Babar said the bilateral and regional issues would also be part of the discussion during the day-long trip, not giving any specifics about the issues to be discussed.
The president’s visit to Kabul comes after his trip to Iran earlier this week in which he reportedly held in-depth negotiations with the state’s leadership on the future of Afghanistan.
According to officials at the foreign ministry, the Iranian leaders were not against Pakistan military’s support for the Taliban but they were wary of them becoming as powerful as they were in the 90s. China, another key power player in the region, also has the same opinion and conveyed it to Pakistan, the officials added.
“That’s what we are trying to build on … there is support for our narrative and these efforts are aimed at exploiting that,” commented one of the officials.
Officials said the president’s visit is meant to take further the consensus on peacemaking with the Taliban as both countries had already evolved between themselves.
President Asif Ali Zardari will also convey his condolences to Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the death of his brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, Babar added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2011.