The administration of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said that Pakistan’s army will train the Afghan National Army under an agreement signed at a recent trilateral summit in the Turkish city of Istanbul, according to the BBC.
President Karzai met with his Turkish and Pakistani counterparts Abdullah Gul and Asif Ali Zardari ahead of a regional conference in Istanbul early this month.
Kabul-based BBC correspondent quoted Afghan foreign ministry spokesperson Janan Musazai as confirming that under the agreement the three countries will also hold joint military exercises. He, however, did not provide details of the agreement.
Pakistan, according to sources, has offered many times in the past its help in training the Afghan National Army but the proposal had not received a positive response earlier.
Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua has also hinted at supporting Musazai’s revelation. The Associated Press of Pakistan quoted her as saying that two memorandums of understandings (MoUs) were signed at the trilateral conference.
One of the MoUs, she said, was about joint military exercises while the other was about training the Afghan police. Pakistan, she explained, wants to see peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and is ready to support all efforts in this regard.
Last month, Afghanistan signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with India during President Karzai’s trip to New Delhi. And according to sources, India agreed, under this agreement, to train, equip and build capacity for Afghan security forces, including the army, besides a host of other things.
Pakistan has strong reservations about this agreement, though officially it said that the Indo-Afghan accord would have no bearings on Kabul-Islamabad relationship. President Karzai had also sought to address Pakistan’s concerns saying that “India is a great friend. Pakistan is a twin brother.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2011.
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