Bonn minus Pakistan

Published: December 5, 2011

The writer is Country Director of the German political foundation Heinrich Boell Stiftung based in Lahore

War can be described as a breakdown of communication. When arguments fail, weapons speak their own language. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. In Afghanistan obviously it didn’t. Thirty years of war without a victor and it seems that we have not reached an end yet.

The second Bonn Conference which took place on December 5th in Germany, is an attempt to correct the various mistakes of the past. At least formally, all parties agree that the Afghan conflict cannot be settled my military means. The German government, as a host, has worked hard to eliminate the mistakes of the first Bonn Conference in 2001 that gave the former Northern Alliance a disproportionate representation in the Kabul government and ignored the various democratic forces within Afghanistan andin exile.

Just a week ago, a delegation of the Taliban representatives including Wakil Ahmad Mottawakil, Mullah Salaam Zaeef, Abdul Hakim Mujahid along with Pakistan’s Major-General Athar Abbas and Pashtun leader Mahmud Khan Achakzai were in the German capital to attend background talks. This was a good step in the right direction.

Although it seems that not much has been achieved between the warring parties, it is quite obvious that the peace process needs to be continued. But nothing will happen until both sides are ready for some concessions. The mistake of the US is that its military still believes that it can shoot the Taliban to the negotiating table and that it just needs to raise the pressure on Pakistan to succeed. This is a gross miscalculation, as the fallout of the Salala tragedy has shown.

Pakistan has several reasons to be upset with Washington. But, by boycotting the Bonn conference, Pakistan is barking up the wrong tree. The relationship between Pakistan and the US is very complex and this has to be solved on a bilateral level. It is dangerous to make the Afghan peace process a hostage to everything that went wrong between these former partners. The Bonn conference is a multilateral attempt to bring all stakeholders together and it would have provided Pakistan an opportunity to engage constructively in the peace process.

Unfortunately, Pakistan’s policymakers suffer from an unhealthy fixation on Washington that prevents them from interacting with other stakeholders. It is true that the European Union and Germany, in particular, are not the main players in Afghanistan. However, they do play a role and they might be more open to Pakistan’s position compared to the currentUS government. But making new friends or engaging old ones (except China), seems to not be a part of Islamabad’s strategy. For now, it seems to be happy having spoiled the game.

This is short-sighted because Pakistan is not strong enough to fight on all fronts. In fact, it cannot even afford the present confrontation as seen by the state of its economic and development indicators. As it is often said, Pakistan is suffering the most from the war on terror. But it is suffering from its own strategy as well. Eating grass in order to uphold one’s national pride is not really a good idea. Who has respect for a country that cannot provide basic goods and services to its people? Economic growth and human development would be a better basis for the sustainable success of the nation.

Pakistan urgently needs to make friends who understand its legitimate interests in the wider security set-up of South and Central Asia. But that needs communication, in fact, a lot of it. My own organisation is constantly engaged in bringing Pakistani speakers to Germany. But much more needs to be done. If Pakistan feels misunderstood by almost everybody, it needs to review its own communication strategy.

The Bonn conference would have provided an opportunity to Pakistan to explain its position on Afghanistan to the world. It is not that there are no arguments. A political process means explaining one’s own position over and over again and sometimes even reviewing it. This holds true for the US as well. But if we increasingly trust the power of weapons more than the power of words, only war can be the result.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2011.

Reader Comments (82)

  • Dec 5, 2011 - 10:34PM

    A sensible analysis.

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  • ashok sai
    Dec 5, 2011 - 10:48PM

    Very true, the boycott decision seems immature and truly democratic Government would not have taken this decision, but here an army has a country, so we cant expect any sanity.

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  • Parvez
    Dec 5, 2011 - 10:57PM

    The very fact that there was a Bonn1 and now a Bonn2, there will be a Bonn3 and so on.
    I personally feel that at this particular time Pakistan’s absence from the conference has done more for Pakistan’s image than if it had attended under the prevailing conditions in the region.

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  • Dec 5, 2011 - 11:05PM

    Very good read but fact of the matter is Anti US sentiments in Pakistan are all time high. This is not the first time Pakistani check posts are attacked, U.S. drone attacks, the ineffective U.S. aid program ,U.S. support for controversial generals, the Raymond Davis case etc have generated widespread anti American feeling in Pakistan. To control national anger it was mutually decided by the Army and Pakistani Govt to stay in Islamabad rather than visiting Bonn where nothing especial was going to happen. Whatever is the outcome of Bonn conference will be repeated on various fronts as you have already revealed that secret dialogues often held among stake holders. Such conferences/ meetings will again be held and Pakistan being one of the key partners will definitely attend them to bring the war against terrorism to its logical end as it’s in own interest as well however at this point in time when being a strategic ally of US, Pakistan is on the receiving end it was not suitable for the Government and the Pakistan Army to take decision that further infuriate the people of Pakistan.

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  • Talha
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:32PM

    I think Pakistan’s position is sufficiently clear: up yours.

    If you take the blinkers off your NATO vision you’ll notice recent statements from China, Russia, Iran and Turkey. You seem to mistake NATO to be the world. Frankly I’m not surprised.

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  • Talha
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:36PM

    Also, since you admit that Pakistan simply disengaging from a conference with your perception of the whole world participating has “spoilt the game”, you need to shove some humble pie and ask nicely and we might decide to help you extricate yourselves from the mess you’ve put yourselves in.

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  • Habib
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:38PM

    I don’t know in which part of the world this lady(author) lives. The suggestion that pakistan should have attended the conference and discuss this with other european countries is totally absurd,and if europeans were so independent in there foreign policy they should have let the turkey into the EU instead of east european countries which even dont match the condition of membership. It is no secret that french present hates muslim and he has proven that by passing certain regulations against liberty, and the french and germansare also the most blant opposers of the turkey membership.

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  • Ubuntu
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:46PM

    Dear Madaam,
    With out pakistan no peace in afghanistan ever gonna be.
    with out pushtoon is there gonna be afghanistan??
    central asians northreners are not owner of afghanistan.

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  • scorp
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:47PM

    here author quite stealthily dodged to address the actual problem at hand, Pakistani policymakers are the actual troublemakers in Afghanistan to start with and pakistan doesn’t really needed a reason to boycott the conference since they already knew the possible outcome of it.no sane country could really comprehend with the solutions come out of pindi via islamabad.Pakistan’s way of making friends is even more innovative than their solutions to Afghanistan ,which i leave to the my fellow Indians.

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  • Farhan Khan
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:11AM

    “War can be described as a breakdown of communication.” A Great Line Indeed.
    And the strategy was openly communicated to the rest of the world after NATO attack on Our Troops leaving 24 dead i.e. The Safety of Pakistan is Our Foremost Priority.
    What Pakistan actually wanted after NATO attack? A Guarantee about her Own Safety. It is, I guess, a legitimate right of the Nation which Unfortunately was not Assured from NATO or the US.
    Through Pakistan’s Boycott of Bonn conference and suspension of NATO supplies, Pakistan just gave a signal that it can isolate NATO and US in Afghanistan if her own security is at RISK. Pakistan had all the RIGHT to do That.

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  • Abbas from the US
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:11AM

    It is regretable that Pakistan chose the role of a spoiler and stayed away. The conference named after Bonn may join the dustbin of history much like the Oslo and similar efforts.
    But Pakistan should be able to understand any short term strategic gains will not result in the war ending in Afghanistan, and the longer the war continues as the US and Nato draw down its presence in Afghanistan, the longer Pakistan will be distracted from fullfilling to its citizens of the promise of a better quality of life. While larger economies in the region not affected directly by the Afghan war will continue to prosper at high rates of growth giving Pakistan’s citizens greater disatisfaction with the delivery of economic expectations.

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  • SaneVoice
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:51AM

    Good Article but you can only preach of sensible leaders which this nation does not have.

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  • Its the Economy Stupid
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:52AM

    Pakistan is behaving like a lad playing soccer who got frustrated after not being able to score a goal, he took the ball and went home assuming that the game will not go on without his participation. However, to his surprise somebody did come up with another ball and game finished after a brief recess. He soon learned that other people can come up with the out of the box solution and life can go on without him and nobody cared for his tantrums.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 6, 2011 - 1:13AM

    Dear Britta Petersen:
    If Pakistan has not attended the Bonn Conference that is not the end of the world.
    Pakistan has been pushed too much in the corner by the US. We have our own priorities and we do not want to be used like a tissue paper which is used by any one and then it is thrown in the dustbin.
    Pakistan is an independent and sovereign state having a population over 187 million people. Several governments came and gone and during this period we have closely watched our relations with US.
    We are not going to kneel down any more, as enough damage has been done to Pakistan.
    I am sure that you must be aware of the fact as how Iran, North Korea and Venezuela and several other independent state are surviving without the help of US.
    We have made up our mind that we will not be having the same terms with US as we were having before. The main reason for that it by taking dictation of US government, the government and people of Pakistan have suffered a lot and we do not want to suffer any more.
    The government of Pakistan is going to announce its new terms and policy with the US and its allies.
    Just want to tell you that to safe guard our mother land, each and every Pakistani national living in Pakistan is ready to die. You haven’t seen a nation like Pakistan before. You are also not aware of the fact that despite the fact that Pakistan is facing number of problems, but we are all one.
    No one can break Pakistan or a Pakistani. Recommend

  • Faisal
    Dec 6, 2011 - 2:49AM

    I seriously doubt the (positive roles of friends, if any) in building bridges and create understanding about our own legitimate interests. There is no friend in the community of nations, its each country’s own interests and the wishes of peoples that should be upheld. I support to should act in the best interest of Pakistan and its peoples and leave this so called war of hypocrisy and stop killing our own own peoples in someone’s else War…

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  • Amjad
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:09AM

    I have a suspicion the Germans will be hosting a Bonn3 and Bonn4 and so on because very little can be achieved without all of the regions stakeholders around. How difficult is it for Germany or anyone to understand that with the memory of so many deaths fresh in the public’s mind, Pakistani officials could not attend any conference? If anything, I would think the German government astute enough to realise that they should have postponed the conference to a more suitable time a few months later until a proper investigation, improvement of communication and cool down of emotions had taken place. Do you think that Germany would rush to a NATO summit in France after a border incident in which 24 German soldiers were killed by another NATO ally? Such sanctimonious talk by Germany serves no one. The Germans are welcome to waste money on a poorly timed conference- the same way they are welcome to keep dumping money into the endless pit known as Afghanistan. Perhaps they would be better off accepting more of the thousands of Afghan asylum seekers who already live in Germany. I am sure they more Afghans will be smuggling themselves into Germany to apply for asylum and refugee status. Then the Afghan problem will be more of a German problem. Pakistan has paid the highest price for defeating the Soviets in Afghanistan, housing millions of Afghan refugees and dealing with the instability left behind by the West when they brought in foreign fighters.

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  • Mad-Paki
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:13AM

    I think it is easy to castigate Pakistan as irrational but reality is not what Ms Pettersen is trying to portray. Here is why

    there is no consensus among the western backers of Afghanistan on how much they want comitt after 2014. For example main EU players France and Germany are busy saving Euro therefor I doubt Afghanistan even registers on their radar.

    Pashtun disenfranchisement is complete and Northern Alliance thugs are not interested in sharing any power with them. And frankly Germany has no solution for this except soothing words.

    On the ground it is US which is doing the heavy lifting both militarily and financially,and these so called other players dont matter so much. Therefore untill US is willing to accept Pakistani view , it doesnt matter if europeans agree or not.

    4.Finally Iran is another key player who doesnt want US to stay after 2014.

    Therefore I am really not sure if Pakistan was wrong to stay away from schmooze fest in Bonn.

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  • MarkH
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:48AM

    @Talha:
    You try so, so hard and fail even harder.
    When people are well aware of your capabilities and importance, your attitude makes you a joke that nobody will take seriously. You’re all talk and your views are proof you should be ignored most of the time. There’s nothing real to consider in your arguments. Quite counter-productive. Respect comes from actual actions and results. In that area, I’d say you were in a steep decline if it wasn’t already basically at rock bottom. Nothing you do helps anyone. You’re basically a bunch of passive aggressive murders that don’t intimidate or fool anyone. But, with all statements I see, it seems you’re still blind to the actual effects of your deny everything, blame everyone else policies. You obviously think it works, which makes it all the more funny. Your whole self image is almost completely opposite of what you are and the only thing more sad than you actually believing it is you thinking other people do even for a second.
    Your Iran reference is irrelevant considering they’d blame stubbing their toe on NATO and the US. Also, it’s customary for almost all countries to state sympathy being real or fake. People look for a reply from countries who are well aware of the drama that would come afterwards if they were to not care or even be happy about it. If they did it would make them look like Pakistan which celebrates everyone’s death who isn’t Muslim, or they deem Muslim enough.

    If you think you have the ability to take on the attitude you have, you should start thinking up the next name you’ll be using for comments after the humiliation Pakistan is almost addicted to.

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  • Dec 6, 2011 - 5:22AM

    Well written. Impeccable analysis.

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  • ubaid
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:40AM

    i think PAK is just getting rid of US …. nd this is the first step in the foreign policyRecommend

  • netizen
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:38AM

    How united Pakistan & Pakistanis are is obvious from day to day news from Pakistan of riots between Shia & Sunni,Talibans killing innocent citizens in frequent terror attacks, minorities being killed and ill treated every day every where. Even influential Pakistanis are afraid of fale charges of blasphemy and insane consequences thereof. So give up ‘fools’ paradise’, open your eyes and brains to march in the path of peace and progress with the world to improve the quality of life of Pakistanis who appear to be mentally hanging over the 1400 years old world.

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  • Parvez Amin
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:57AM

    Spoiling a game being played by those who have no right to be here is a great move. NATO has showered the area with endless misery and there will be a sigh of relief when they leave, minus the resources they tried to steal. The resources can be had through trade. If the West wishes to set up educational institution they think will turn out better people, they should be allowed. Attendance at these institutions will over time show results that should bring everyone closer.

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  • N
    Dec 6, 2011 - 7:39AM

    It is the world that is not listening. Pakistan has explained its position over and over again with words and actions. Afghanistan is our strategic depth. If we can’t have it no one else can either. We will use our strategic assets to achieve our goals. Are you listening? If not please set up an interview with Mullah Omar and General Pasha.

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  • sule man
    Dec 6, 2011 - 7:50AM

    @Its the Economy Stupid:
    if you let this lad (Pakistan) go, from the soccer team (NATO) they will end up losing the game big time.They might play with the sub but the sub wont be able to take them to victory.
    USSR’s game finished without Pakistan.imagen NATO’s game getting finished in the same style. Winning a game in Afghanistan with out Pakistan in your team is IMPOSSIBLE.
    Dont we know this?

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  • Ashfaq Kaani
    Dec 6, 2011 - 8:14AM

    What a shamefull day it could have been if we attended the Bon Conference and on the same day NATO attacked us once again. I think you people think that Pakistan is a banana state. Now you will face Talibans and Alqaeda on your own. We are getting out of you fake war against terror. This war is anti-muslim and now we cannot fight it anymore. We are out. Face your problems in Afghanistan on your own and I hope you gonna get lost from there in a year. Lying, cheating and betraying is in Americans jeans. And moreover I hate American people more then the US government because most of them are ignorant and don’t pay much attention to the outside world. Their tax money is being used kill other nations and they don’t try to stop their government. GoodBye America.Recommend

  • Khan Marwat
    Dec 6, 2011 - 8:57AM

    This is not the first time that Pakistan has been humiliated- This is a punishment for Pakistan to be US ally- Pakistan has not been betrayed for the first time- The Pak Army made sacrifices but are not recognised- I am sure Pakistan can live much better without the financial support of the US- With this price Pakistan can get much more from other countries- Paki is self sufficient in food and that is the cry of poor people- The hard money comming to Pak never reach the poors, therefore US support doesnot mean anything for the common men- US is after Pakistani interests- If US leaves Afghanistan, peace can be automatically achieve through negotiations- History is witness that outsiders could not bring peace in this region- Our Allah says non believers can not be your true friends- How can we make them friends when Allah says you can not- Let the US, NATO leave us live on our own to address our own issues-

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  • Arindom
    Dec 6, 2011 - 9:03AM

    I think the establishment used the NATO attack as an excuse to avoid the Bonn conference. Nothing being discussed at the conference – peace, stability, democracy, prosperity for Afghanistan gells with the Estalishment view of Taliban/Haqqani controlled Afghanistan for Strategic Depth. In order to avoid some discomfiture, Pakistan sinply used the 24 deaths to avoid the conference

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  • Adeel759
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:00AM

    Bonn minus Pakistan = Pakistan minus Rest of the World’

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  • FAZ
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:16AM

    Millions of illegal immigrants(who dont wana change their status co), who brought nothing but drugs and weapons to our society, left by international community totally at our own stake. Then then the Islamic millitancy, as called by the west takes turns in totally opposite direction (somehow our millitary is also responsible for it) Still the west believes Pakistani people have not done enough! And to add to the insult there is the puppet government of Karzai and Co who blame Pakistan for there own damn mistakes
    As per ISPR 250 soldiers so far have been killed or injured from “miscommunication” by US/NATO. This has has to stop!!. Dont care boycotting Bonn was the right decision. We Pakistanis are just fed up of Afghanistan, the US and the NATO.

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  • Dec 6, 2011 - 11:07AM

    Why would US leave Afghanistan?

    To forego base near Russia and China?
    To stop lucrative business of opium trade?
    To reduce budget to its defense spending?

    Sounds highly unlikely. Pakistan or no Pakistan, US exit is not going to happen.

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  • ashok sai
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:09AM

    @Adeel759:

    Good one, add to that,

    Bonn minus Pakistan = Afghan prosperity

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  • Realist
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:12AM

    Pakistan cannot accept Afghanistan anything less or short of its colony. This is ‘The Problem’. It should make its own polity happy and united before dreaming of Pan Islamism.

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  • S!D
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:24AM

    @ MarkH
    I think Obama should kick Hillary Clinton out and appoint you on her place so that you can better deal with Pakistan! US is acting like Brutus to Pakistan therefore now Pakistan has to review its foreign policy especially relations with US.

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  • naeem hussain
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:32AM

    Pakistan does not need to explain its position it is obvious. America and NATO need to explain their position they are fighting against terrorism or Muslims.

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  • Shyam
    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:33AM

    Maybe the next time Pakistan wants to have a discussion on Afghanistan, the NATO and other countries should boycott. ROFL!

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  • Britta
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:05PM

    This is just a comment to the person, who suggested that the fact the EU does not want to take Turkey as a member could be proof for their lack of an independent foreign policy: May I remind you that the US has constantly been advocating for Turkey’s membership in the EU and that some people in Europe interpret this as a wish to weaken Europe? There is some truth to it although I have always been in favour of taking Turkey in. The EU has not even digested the last round of enlargement. And as the current Euro crisis shows, it needs to restructure it’s whole internal set-up before moving on….

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  • Chacha
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:29PM

    This is wierd. When Mumbai attacks happened, Pakistan asked for business as usual. That attack too was deliberate. and 160 people died, and a whole city was held to ransom. Now 24 soldiers die and Pakistan throws a fit.

    One byproduct if boycotting is that you cannot do it often. Repeated use of this weapon makes the user irrelevant.

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  • ABBAS
    Dec 6, 2011 - 12:53PM

    Please talk sense ..may have some points to ponder on ,but the article does have a softer side for the us . I am an advocate for peace i really dont want our countries to fight ;but the killing of 30 of our soldiers is this the way an allies is dealt with , how about we shoot down one of ur stealth copters carrying 10 of the us solders would the us corporate with us or would they resort to other measures . PLX AN APPEAL TO OUR LEADERS STOP THE NATO SUPPLY VACATE THE AIR BASES SEAL IT OF AND KINDLY CUT ALL COMMUNICATION WITH THE US WE HAVE DONE MUCH FOR THEM AN WHAT DO WE GET ,SMACK AND CRAP TALK FROM THEIR END >>I LOVE MY COUNTRY CANT SEE IT GET DESTROYED .

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  • Dec 6, 2011 - 1:13PM

    very aptly stated that Pakistan US relations overshadow everything on Afghan political landscape and recent example is attack on Pakistan army post but they declined to apologies. Imagine if same number of US or Western soldiers have been killed in a attacked by Pakistan forces?

    Unfortunately, other Western countries hardly proved that their approach towards Afghan end game is slightly different.

    Ironically, whatever US do or says other states from they west take it as it is which creates trust deficit and no one in Pakistan feel that they pursue different policy approach. It needs to be changed at your end.

    On the other hand Pakistan need to strike a strategic balance while distancing from the US. It does not need to adopt hostile line towards US but it should persistent follow its national interests such as a peaceful Afghanistan is in the Pakistan interest.

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  • Fazal Gafur
    Dec 6, 2011 - 1:18PM

    Thanks a million Ms. Petersen,

    I totally agree with you all you said is perfectly right.
    and we can resolve any issue with dialogues and presentation of our interests by thorough professionals not by friends and family members of the TOP MANAGEMENT (Civilians & Arm Forces).

    anti USA sentiments are very high but there are lots of reasons for that.

    1) USA doesn’t have any permanent friends or enemy, mean we should not trust USA.

    2) when ever USA needs us we become friends and when not we become the most dangerous country on this earth.

    3) They always wants their interests to be taken care of what ever it takes.

    4) USA have not ever think public to public relationships with Pakistan, even Pakistan has always tried as per my knowledge but USA thinks that as nation we are not up to their standards.

    This is my personal experience.

    But bottom line is that we can have a very good relationship with any country any nation but for that we have to have a PATRIOTIC ON THE TOP………….

    Hope these comments will be allowed here……….

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  • R.A
    Dec 6, 2011 - 3:11PM

    Bonn without Pakistan is PAST now
    Just imagine Pakistan without Bonn in future
    It seems nobody in Pakistan is prepared to
    think about it
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  • kakar
    Dec 6, 2011 - 3:23PM

    Thnx to lady, Alas! We Pakistani have lost a good opportunity to clear our position in Bonn. For how long will we be crying over split milk? Yes agreed we had clear our position to US by quickly evocated the shamsi airbase and my halting NATO supply line but at last the solution of every problem is negotiating table and international forum where we can emphasis on our political rights and can won the sympathies of world wide nations which we had lost due to boycotting from the Bonn conference

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  • Nauman Yusufzai Melbourne
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:07PM

    By boycotting BON world has come to know that how crucial Pakistan is in this part of the world. And it will be fooling urself that there will be any peace in Afghanistan without involving Pakistan in any kind of dialogues. As Hamiz Karzai said today that Pakistan role cannot be ignored in making settlement with Taliban

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  • Muhammad Ahmad
    Dec 6, 2011 - 4:28PM

    The boycott decision of BONN conference was good and it was the reaction of what NATO had done in Pakistan.

    If someone harms the dignity of Pakistan then no one can aspect the we will be remain diplomatic for a long time. Obviously there is an natural anger on such kind of incidents.

    If some thing wrong is done unintentionally then it can be taken as mistake but some thing wrong is done intentionally it is then taken as crime. Sorry works for mistake not for crime.
    Accept a universal saying that “DO RESPECT HAVE RESPECT”.

    Pak Govt had taken a good decision of boycotting BONN conference i acknowledge this decision.

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  • Shameel Baloch
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:03PM

    Absence makes the heart go fonder. Pakistan made the right decision by boycotting. This is not an emotional response but a calculated strategic move. This is how it was going on for 10 years, you kill our people, give your regrets, then kill us our people again. After Bonn II fails to elicit the desired results in Afghanistan, Bonn will come running to Pakistan. There can be no peace in Afghanistan without Pakistan.

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  • Hafeez Sheikh
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:06PM

    If someone slapped you across the face would accept an invitation to their party in Bonn the next day? By boycotting, Pakistan did the right thing.

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  • Seema Aziz
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:11PM

    The author seems to think that Germany has a role to play in this part of the world, it doesn’t. Germany behaves like a vassal state of the US following it in whichever misadventure it goes into. Before Germany can wield influence it must gain respect of this region and that doesn’t come by behaving like USA’s poodle.

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  • Rashid Rehman
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:13PM

    The tone of this article is very arrogant and condescending towards Pakistan. It almost seems to mock at Pakistan.Recommend

  • Faizullah Afridi
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:21PM

    For all those worried about Pakistan having missed an opportunity to explain its position at Bonn II, don’t worry. We can always clarify our position at Bonn XXII in 2026, because that’s what will happen if the US and NATO treat Pakistan the way they are doing now.

    P.S. These international conferences are useless and a waste of time. All that matters is what happens on the ground in the real world.

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  • Zainab Abbas
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:24PM

    Before lecturing us on lack of participation, first admit our brother Turkey as a member of the EU, which Germany is vehemently opposing on racial, religious and ethnic grounds.

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  • Zaeef Ahmed
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:30PM

    NATO: “Pakistan has missed a great opportunity by boycotting Bonn II, bla bla bla..”

    Pakistan: (Yawn) When you’re done let me know how I can save your sorry selves from the Afghanistan quagmire.”Recommend

  • Chuck Norris
    Dec 6, 2011 - 5:40PM

    @ Ashok Sai: By that logic World minus India = Heaven

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  • x
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:15PM

    Bonn conferences will happen umpteenth time more so no real loss there. as for attending it now, after the nato attacks, the deliberate, cold blooded, disgraceful killing of our soldiers by our so-called allies, it would have been shameful if we had attended it not getting on the high horse, but why does everyone keep forgetting the attack was not by some terrorists or people of us nationality but BY THE US. BIG difference. this is not the first, nor the last, time this has happened. pakistan needed to take a stand. we need to get out of this war OF terror. anyone with a little undertanding of the afghans and the pashtuns will know they are not under pakistans control and that fighting them is counter productive as it does not eliminate all the ‘terrorists’ in fact mostly innocent civilians are killed and then their families, previously normal people, also take up arms to avenge the deaths. so it is a tsunami of violence, the more you attack them, the more it will grow, it will not certainly not subdue them. there s NO military solution. you cant suppress these people through force by killing innocents US has created a lose lose situation and embroiled pakistan in a situation which can only be likened to quicksand.

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  • ashok sai
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:25PM

    @Chuck Norris:
    I think heaven is a world after life, implies India less world is life less !

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  • M.Ali Khan
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:35PM

    why the lines;
    “Just a week ago, a delegation of the Taliban representatives including Wakil Ahmad Mottawakil, Mullah Salaam Zaeef, Abdul Hakim Mujahid along with Pakistan’s Major-General Athar Abbas and Pashtun leader Mahmud Khan Achakzai were in the German capital to attend background talks. This was a good step in the right direction” did not appeared in printed article in today’s press. ?

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  • Chuck Norris
    Dec 6, 2011 - 6:55PM

    @ Ashok Sai: Thats quite a positive message you inferred from my comment. But thats not what i implied.

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  • MJT
    Dec 6, 2011 - 7:04PM

    There will be a BUN conference now.

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  • MJT
    Dec 6, 2011 - 7:41PM

    Well everyone has a right to express and everyone has the right to not go to a conference. So as far as the artcle does i guess the author has the right to speak and she is also right in her own way.

    I am sure that just backing out of one conference would not affect the overall peace process, and Pakistan would in the future be provided with opporunities to put up their case on the table, and it is upto Pakistan to present our case in the most professional and assertive manner we can.

    @Mark: Dude, are you American, German or Indian? At first, I thought you were German (i.e. the currency before the Euro…Mark). Quite an aggressive peice you have written there. I guess you havent lost 30,000 people like we have lost. Please dont think about losing them or you will feel tremors under you. So next time, please KEEP YOUR COMMENTS to yourself and if you are German, please focus on Europe’s economy. Think about Italy, Greece and Spain.

    If you are American, THINK about Taxes.

    And if you are Indian, Think about Bollywood.

    LOL!

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  • ashok sai
    Dec 6, 2011 - 7:42PM

    India minus Kashmir = peace in the region. Pakistan plus Kashmir = peace in the region. Tribune minus Indian commentators = priceless. Pakistan plus zindabad = love and peace for all. No more math equations = good for my brain!

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  • Abbas from the US
    Dec 6, 2011 - 8:29PM

    @Britta:

    While it may be true that the EU has not digested the last increase in membership and the current debt crises within the EU profoundly exhibits the structural weaknesses of the Southern Euro Zone as compared to the consistent frugal governmental style of the members of the Northern Euro Zone. However Turkey’s drift towards an autocratic Islamist manifestation in Erdogan albeit representative, is also because of the Europe’s inablity to widen its horizon in an increasingly globalised context.

    One of the reasons Europe has not found a clear vision whether it can bridge the gap between a Westernised Turkey with a Muslim majority population is the lack of political courage that the Germans have exhibited while leaving it to France to define European society in political terms and the future that Europe would like to see itself in.

    Germany while having lost the War and has now managed to win the economic battle of being the driving locomotive of European growth. Furtther it also has to take the lead in political leadership. This is a demand of leadership which requires bringing togther European cultures which may not have Christian roots yet share the coomon roots of language evolution, and shared values of secular social democracy that Europe has given birth to, and set an example for even the United States.

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  • Babar
    Dec 6, 2011 - 8:49PM

    Does it really matter what Pakistan thinks or says?

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  • naeem hussain
    Dec 6, 2011 - 9:46PM

    You are living in the heaven of fools. Lets see how you achieve prosperity with out Pakistan.@ashok sai:

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  • Ammad
    Dec 6, 2011 - 10:04PM

    Pakistan’s stance on Bonn was absolutely right because you should not expect good from other side after martyring the other soldiers. It’s as simple as that. Imagine if Pakistan would have participated then we would not have been left with any pride. It would have also sent the message to the world that you can do anything to us and we would not do anything.

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  • Rational
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:48AM

    @chacha:

    Add 35,000 to the 24 and then you will accurately represent the figure for which you claim ‘Pakistan’ is throwing a fit. It is sad indeed my friend that you can put a label on lives, each and everyone irrespective of wealth or identity is an equal loss to the world. Please start to realize that it is a human that dies more importantly than a Pakistani, Indian or American. Dressed in uniform or not, it is still a human.

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  • Raafey
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:57AM

    EU/UK have very little independent thinking on Afghanistan. While Pakistan may be fixated with Washington (and we should avoid it), Europeans have proved singularly incapable of articulating any vision that does not pass through the US’s prism. By doing so, Europe has only curtailed its own position. One hopes that they will wake up to this reality. Pakistan, therefore, has lost very little in missing Bonn.Our presence would have enhanced its cosmetic value — and that is what the Europeans were most interested in.

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  • asghar
    Dec 7, 2011 - 4:27AM

    what may come,peace can not be established in afghanistan unless talibans are given their due share in afghan govt.northen allaince is only a miniority group,they would never be able to rule the majority (pashtunes),not even with the help of US army.

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  • andleeb
    Dec 7, 2011 - 5:58AM

    Americans should be told clearly that next time they invade us we will use our nuclear weapons. There is no purpose of having nuclear weapons if we don’t use them. Why make them if we don’t know how to use them? Pakistan is today eating grass (as Bhutto said) to make them. Once we use nuclear weapons, then it will be victory for entire Islamic world and we will once again be respected in the world.Recommend

  • M Bilal
    Dec 7, 2011 - 9:40AM

    @Babar: Yes it does.. and that’s the reason why every tom dick is writing or talking about Pakistan boycotting BONN conference and its repercussions.

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  • M Bilal
    Dec 7, 2011 - 9:51AM

    @ashok sai: Very true, the boycott decision seems immature

    Wasn’t the idea of attacking Afghanistan and thereafter Iraq, without any sustainable evidence against them, an insanity?

    ……Now this is where the hypocrisy comes in… For any state other than Pak, her security is of foremost importance, however, since Pak is already badly hurt by periodic terrorist strikes and economic woes (that too mainly after getting into this war against terror) it should surrender all its right to sovereignty and behave well…Huh

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  • M Bilal
    Dec 7, 2011 - 9:57AM

    @Chacha: Ha ha… India is yet to prove involvement of Pak establishment into the 26/11 strikes, however, 24/11 strikes were carried on by US helicopters… Just a slight difference in both the comparisons enough though, however, to regard this comparison a weird one.

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  • khalid malhi
    Dec 7, 2011 - 10:57AM

    If the same act was done by our armed forces then would the world,UNO,NATO countries act in the same way as they are behaving now.This is a unipolar world with European and Americans playing havoc with international law and UNO sits in their feet mum and rotten.We love our country as do Europeans and Americans who are their to kill our peace loving people.They are blind and deaf. Can any single country give such sacrifices for them and in the end their people are being killed by them.For God sake stop this foolishness.Recommend

  • netizen
    Dec 7, 2011 - 12:08PM

    @Shameel Baloch:
    Is this approach not against freedom and sovereignty of Afghanistan?

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  • netizen
    Dec 7, 2011 - 12:21PM

    @ABBAS:
    With this attitude of Pakistan Army & Government you will see what you don’t want to see.

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  • antony
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:24PM

    @Bilal, What is the proof that border post was attacked by NATO as it could be talibans from aghan side .. There is no proof established yet that those bullets were from NATO soldiers .It could be that RAW agents wearing taliban turbans and disguised in fake NATO helicopters were responsibel..Absolutely no proof pakistan has produced till now can succeed in any court of law..

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  • Point made
    Dec 7, 2011 - 2:21PM

    The bottom line is Pakistan military forces were targetted and Pakistan has to to do what it has to do, to gaurd it’s self interest as it finds suitable. It must know something . . . .

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  • Saif
    Dec 7, 2011 - 3:48PM

    @ Author: Very true. We missed a trick by not taking up this opportunity to make new friends and engage older ones. We could have involved other major international players into the grand scheme of things, which would have exerted pressure on US and her cronies to adopt sensible courses of action rather than showering lead upon everyone in the region. Indeed, this sort of pressure by the international community could have been a landmark affair, just like the International Court’s 1984 verdict against the US on the Nicaraguan affair.
    @ ashok sai: For your arguments to be taken seriously, they need to make sense.

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  • imran sahil
    Dec 7, 2011 - 4:51PM

    Mam Britta
    For your kind information we have strong economy resources,we are atomic power nations,if our govt has take strong decision pakistan has very strong position to fight in all front.Recommend

  • Palvasha von Hassell
    Dec 7, 2011 - 5:35PM

    Pakistan showed self-respect and did the right thing, thank God. So when people say Pakistan should have attended the conference, I’m put in mind of one of my favourite sayings by Aristotle, to the effect that the showing of outrage and anger is right and an essential part of what makes us human.
    Apart from that, why does one overlook the fact that Pakistan is a democracy? How would the people feel if their leaders went fawning to attend conferences while the actions of its major participants had humiliated the whole nation? The red line has been crossed!
    Besides, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle communicated with Khar all the while and showed understanding for Pakistan’s position. I was there at the conference.So diplomatically the abstention has not done much harm.
    A whole German generation has grown up after the second world war, to see Germany firmly committed to the US. It’s very difficult for them to understand how one can stand up to the Americans, I guess! Any self-respecting nation will not continue to toe the line beyond a certain point.

    Well done Pakistan!

    P.S. It was very disappointing to see low journalistic standards in that German state television pointed the finger at Pakistan for the terror attacks in Kabul and Kandahar just one day after the conference, before any final confirmation that Pakistani groups were involved. There’s a lot that’s gone down the drain since 9/11, journalistic ethics being one of the casualtiesRecommend

  • M Bilal
    Dec 7, 2011 - 5:57PM

    @antony: A really funny one….

    Americans are carrying out the investigation to know how did this attack took place and not to find out if Americans were really involved in this attack! Will you still ask for proof to NATO involvement in whole of 24/11 episode?? Ha ha….

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  • Loyal to Pakistan
    Dec 7, 2011 - 6:27PM

    It makes me laugh when someone from the west acts as being sympathatic with Pakistan and indirectly tries to “Tell” us what to do. Pakistan’s position is very clear but I think the West needs “Thicker glasses” to see it.

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  • Grace
    Dec 7, 2011 - 11:17PM

    @Loyal to Pakistan: Well put; such patronizing comments by Europeans means little to Pakistanis who have suffered the most due to the instability created in the region because the West used Pakistan to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan and end the Cold War. Guess how much money we saved the West and how much security we brought them by ending the risk of a nuclear Thirdr World War between the West and Soviets. In return, they left us to clean up the mess of millions of Afghani refuegees in Pakistan, thousands of extremists Arabs, Chechens, Central Asians etc. That too with limited resources. And now they have the gall to tell us to attend a conference because they are so concerned about the region!
    I’m sorry but Pakistan should not attend Bonn or any summit until the nation is given its due.
    If Germany has so much money to throw at the Indian agents who masquerade as Afghanistan’s government, let them give it to us because all the Afghans really want is to get to Germany and become political refugees there and live on welfare.

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  • Iqbal
    Dec 7, 2011 - 11:59PM

    All those blaming Pakistan explain to me why millions of Afghan displaced during war with Russia do not go back to their beloved country and have opted to stay in Pakistan. They have jobs, business, getting educated in Pakistan School and Universities and above all a roof on their head. They were not thrown in the refugees camps and were able to live a dignified life. Who had to foot the bill, PAKISTAN.

    Why the Afghan government does not call them back in their country? I am sure just for a few none will response, because Karzi has nothing to offer excepts empty words. What has US and Europeans done to repatriate the Afghans back to their country. All they made was empty promises of providing billions of $$ to help Afghanistan, and what they gave much of it has been taken back through their NGO,s and greedy contractors.

    US and the West had abandon Afghanistan after defeat of Russia and they will do so again, except this time maintain a base to try and contain Russia and China. Afghanistan will remain poor and underdeveloped as long as they will depend on United States of America. History is the proof, that hard working people of Japan built Japan after WWII and not America, South Korea was rebuilt by their hard working country men and not USA.

    Afghans cannot ignore its neighbors when re-building their country they have to learn to differentiate between so-called friends and their brothers in faith.

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