CHICAGO: The US goal of peace Afghanistan is firmly shared by Pakistan, but the two nations face many hurdles in its accomplishment, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States said on Friday.
“Pakistan and the United States have agreed that reconciliation is something we need to work for,” Ambassador Husain Haqqani told the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
But there remains the question of whether Afghan insurgents, many of whose hide-outs in Pakistan have long been the source of US-Pakistani tension, are willing negotiators.
“A lot of times the problem is a very small number of people, dedicated and violent, want to impose their will by arms,” Haqqani said.
Discussing the complex issues faced in the struggle of reconciliation, the ambassador said, “The problem is you can’t be half engaged in these negotiations. Do the Taliban have a vision of where they want to be? Are they willing to be part of a pluralist Afghanistan in the future?”
Haqqani went to say that Pakistan would “do everything to facilitate discussions between all elements of the Taliban that we can reach,” a sign that Pakistan’s help had been requested to bring certain Taliban groups, such as the Haqqani network to the negotiating table.
Haqqani derided commentators in the region, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who last week made comments suggesting that his country would side with Pakistan if a military conflict broke out between Islamabad and Washington.
“Pakistan and the United States are not going to war,” adding that his request to Americans is to be patient with Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2011.