Hitting back: It’s old wine in an even older bottle, says Khar

Published: February 2, 2012

Khar walks out after a joint press conference with her Afghan counterpart at the Foreign Ministry in Kabul. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD/KABUL: 

Talk about bad timing. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s first trip to Kabul since taking office last year took a turn for the worse on Wednesday after the visit was primarily eclipsed by a leaked Nato report accusing Pakistan of secretly aiding Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The untimely one-day visit, which was aimed at thawing frosty ties between the two neighbours, was for the most part overshadowed by Khar’s denials of the contents of the Nato report.

“We have no hidden agenda in Afghanistan,” Khar told reporters after meeting President Hamid Karzai, adding that “these claims have been made many, many times.”

The minister went on to add that the report should be “disregarded as potential strategic leak”, characterising the document as “old wine in an even older bottle”.

“We consider any threat to Afghanistan’s independence and sovereignty as a threat to Pakistan’s existence.

“Pakistan and Afghanistan need to look forward to a relationship based on trust,” she added.

While Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasoul told the same news conference: “Pakistan plays a key role in Afghan peace process. I hope Ms Rabbani’s visit is the beginning of a good relationship between our two countries.”

‘Frivolous’ claims

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office also rejected and hit out angrily at the leaked report on Wednesday, calling the report “frivolous” and “not worth commenting on”.

“This is frivolous, to put it mildly. We are committed to non-interference in Afghanistan and expect all other states to strictly adhere to this principle,” foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told AFP.

“We are also committed to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process,” Basit said.

“Pakistan has suffered enormously because of the long conflict in Afghanistan. A stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in our own interest and we are very much cognizant of this,” he added.

‘Deliberate’ leak

Efforts to normalise the already fragile alliance between Pakistan and the United States may suffer at the hands of the leaked Nato report, senior military officials believe.

A senior military official described the leak as ‘deliberate’, warning that it might further deteriorate Islamabad’s cooperation with Washington.

In recent weeks the two sides have made attempts to move beyond the fallout of Nato strikes and there were indications that Pakistan might resume Nato supplies which have been blocked for over two months now.

The latest US military findings, though, may now delay the impending rapprochement between the disenchanted but crucial allies to Afghanistan’s endgame.

“It goes without saying that the leak will certainly have a negative impact on efforts to defuse tensions with the US,” said the military official, who requested anonymity.

The official went on to say that the accusation was part of a ‘deliberate campaign against Pakistan’s security establishment.’

(Read: A thaw in Pak-Afghan ties?)

(Additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2012.

Reader Comments (23)

  • numbersnumbers
    Feb 2, 2012 - 5:31AM

    Would be REALLY nice to be able to read this report! The louder the Government protests about it ( frivolous, old wine, deliberate attack on Pakistan’s security, etc etc) the closer to the TRUTH it must be!

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  • Imran
    Feb 2, 2012 - 5:35AM

    Older the wine, the better it gets…

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  • John B
    Feb 2, 2012 - 5:36AM

    Aged wine tastes good.

    Yes, indeed it is an old wine and that is why no one is surprised when the report came out.

    Several news stories in Telegraph, Guardian, and New Yorker have detailed about the ISI support for Taliban in providing motorcycles, and facilitating their refuge in Peshawar and their treatment in Pakistani hospitals.

    What is interesting to note in this report is how many Afghan Taliban are infiltrated in Afghanistan army, and police. The local support is of little value, as it is expected when the power comes from the barrel of the gun.

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  • Cautious
    Feb 2, 2012 - 6:04AM

    disreg­arded as potent­ial strate­gic
    leak

    That maybe — but it’s still true and that’s the real issue.

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  • Mawali
    Feb 2, 2012 - 6:30AM

    Nice choice of metaphors by a Pakistani women. Bravo, we need more like her. Accountability is only to God and not to the pseudo contractors.

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  • Abdul Qayyum Bhatti
    Feb 2, 2012 - 6:34AM

    “old wine in an even older bottle” is interesting comment by Hina.

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  • Aamir
    Feb 2, 2012 - 8:23AM

    Do not allow NATO supplies pass through Pak border, give them a befitting response.

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  • Humanity
    Feb 2, 2012 - 8:25AM

    Her statement is not only un-stately, it is down right unIslamic.

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  • H. Babar
    Feb 2, 2012 - 8:35AM

    May be someone else had an hidden agenda to ruin your goodwill trip to Afghanistan, Miss Khar!

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  • Salman Haider
    Feb 2, 2012 - 8:46AM

    Ms. Khar has yet another time proved of how bold she is…i.e. even uttering the word “wine” in Afghanistan

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  • narayana murthy
    Feb 2, 2012 - 9:04AM

    I wonder if Karzai really believed her!!!!

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  • ashok sai
    Feb 2, 2012 - 9:28AM

    “old wine in an even older bottle”.

    But Ms.Khar, the wine is now contaminated, that’s the problem.

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  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Feb 2, 2012 - 9:37AM

    How older is this wine???? Surely very expensive. Remember Old Is Gold.Recommend

  • Gul Khan
    Feb 2, 2012 - 9:38AM

    @John B:
    You raised an excellent point..

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  • Asad
    Feb 2, 2012 - 9:56AM

    So who is letting the Taliban open up offices in Qattar and taking their names off of most wanted lists?

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  • Anon
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:03AM

    US sending millions of dollars to our NGO’s will not improve your image here if you keep up this ungrateful behaviour towards Pakistan at a policy level. Stop coming up with excuses for your defeat and get out of this region. And leave us alone too!Recommend

  • Sukhdeep
    Feb 2, 2012 - 11:27AM

    Good chance pakistan can become another north korea in next 10 years ….both north korea and pakistan share same friend china and are making enemy with rest of the world.

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  • Amjad Hanif
    Feb 2, 2012 - 12:32PM

    I think Pakistan has already the victim of terrorism due to Afghani Talban, I must point out the matter of “Afghani Pathans” which live Pakistan many years and also got the Pakistani Nationality due to some politician benefits for increase their “Vote Bank” they people buy Lands/Houses etc into Pakistan too and I thought this is much extra burden on Pakistan Economy, so government must census/watch that types of people and send back to Afganistan.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Feb 2, 2012 - 1:04PM

    Afghans have learned to realise that everything that comes from Pakistan is to be taken with pinch of salt, as there is “Trust Deficit ” with their antics and intensions !
    This visit is no different !

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  • Dr.Salim
    Feb 2, 2012 - 2:50PM

    Pakistan itself lives on donations and charity and WTO concessions, what can it offer Afghanistan to re-build ? Last time we tried to give Afghanistan something we ended up creating Taliban. Allah save us from our arrogance and paranoia.

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  • Dr.Salim
    Feb 2, 2012 - 2:54PM

    @Amjad Hanif: What about our Pakistani Taliban which killed close to 3000 ordinary citizens in last year alone ?

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  • Haq B.
    Feb 2, 2012 - 7:55PM

    @Dr.Salim:
    According to the Statistics 26,000 Pakistanis have been killed by the Taliban in all so far, to be exact.

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  • rehmat
    Feb 2, 2012 - 8:50PM

    @Haq B.: “According to the Statistics 26,000 Pakistanis have been killed by the Taliban in all so far, to be exact.”

    The people killing Pak civilians are TTP not Afghan Taliban that US is complaining about. Secondly the statistics mention that around 7000 cibvilians and 6000 army people have been killed and 20000 TTP people have been killed by the army. So to present the 33000 number as Pak’s contribution to the war on terror is disingenuous for 2 reasons:
    1) The people who have died have done so in an internal insurgency unrelated to US war on terror
    2) While Pak army had initially pretended to support US against Afghan Taliban for a long time they have made it clear that they will do no such thing since Afghan Taliban are their allies. Nothing wrong with them except that Pak also tries to take money for its non-existent suppor which is hypocrisy

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