Karzai aims to get peace process on the road with Pakistan trip

Published: February 14, 2012

Afghan President Hamid Karzai hopes that Pakistan would arrange for meaningful dialogue between Afghan and the Taliban. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai will press Pakistan to provide access to senior Afghan Taliban leaders when he visits Islamabad this week in a bid to advance a nascent peace process with the group, senior Afghan officials said on Tuesday.

Pakistan is seen as critical to efforts to reach a settlement to Afghanistan’s conflict, now in its eleventh year, and is believed to have influence over Afghan insurgent groups.

“We hope that Pakistan will arrange a purposeful meeting between us and so that we find a solution to our own problems,” said one Afghan official, emphasising hopes of direct talks with Taliban leaders belonging so the Quetta Shura, named after the Pakistani city where it is said to be based.

“Pakistan has paid little attention to our concerns and the level of cooperation has not been sincere or honest so far,” he complained.

Pakistan has consistently denied giving sanctuary to insurgents and denies the existence of any Quetta Shura.

But Afghans have long been suspicious that Pakistan uses groups like the Afghan Taliban as proxies in Afghanistan to counter the growing influence of rival India.

Ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan were strained for months after the assassination in September of Afghan peace envoy and former president Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Afghan officials blamed Pakistan’s intelligence agency, allegations angrily denied by Islamabad.

But Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said after a recent trip to Kabul that a lot of the ill will between the neighbours had faded, and she said Pakistan would encourage Afghan groups to pursue peace if asked by Kabul.

Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi said while relations between the neighbours in recent months had seen “ups and downs”, the trip was aimed at consolidating a recent improvement.

Karzai is expected to meet Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit which starts on Thursday.

They are also due to hold talks on counter-terrorism and trade in a trilateral summit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Afghan Taliban announced last month it would open a political office in Qatar, suggesting the group may be willing to engage in negotiations that could likely give it government positions or official control over much of its historical southern heartland.

While Afghanistan supports any talks that the Taliban may have with American officials in Qatar, it also wants countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to play a role so that the process is comprehensive, analysts say.

Karzai will meet Pakistan’s religious leaders and opposition figures in a bid to broaden support for fledgling talks with the Taliban, the senior Afghan officials said.

Reader Comments (10)

  • YeaRight
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:44PM

    Look who needs us now. Why dont you go visit your BFF India and ask them with the peace process.

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  • Roflcopter
    Feb 14, 2012 - 9:05PM

    Who would have thought a day would come when US and puppet government would beg Pakistan to help them?

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  • pakistanibaloch
    Feb 14, 2012 - 9:33PM

    @Roflcopter: right broRecommend

  • Afghan Pashtun
    Feb 14, 2012 - 9:59PM

    The Kumbaya Conference should go well between two puppets. They will sit down and lie through their teeth and make promises to each other knowing full well they have no intentions of keeping them and curse obscenities under their breath. Ah the warm and fuzzy relations of these two nations.

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  • Feb 14, 2012 - 11:29PM

    At least karzai again turns towards Pakistan after being sidelined by US from negotiations with Taliban, regional players should join hands together to formulate a policy for Afghan peace, America has lost the war completely and the next thing US would do is to divide the Afghanistan into two parts under the control of northern Alliance and Taliban respectively to take revenge of defeat fby backing the Northern alliance so that insurgency continues. and this could be even more worse for the stability in Pakistan, So i again say that the end game of Afghanistan should be sorted out carefully and peacefully only by regional players

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  • Zalmai
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:55PM

    @ Colonel

    The Afghan government is firmly in control of its territories and the ANA will be a force to be reckoned with come 2014. The Taliban don’t have a prayer left so they run and scramble and cry foul to their puppet masters. That is the reality my friends and that is all she wrote. Recommend

  • fahim
    Feb 15, 2012 - 12:05AM

    @Roflcopter: That is all we can do.. nurture, feed, support these “most wanted” people in the world and then use them as bargaining chip against everyone else. And then, very proudly chest thump that others need our help. This is shameful and ridiculous. I wonder how long shall we play this double faced game. Wonder no one in the world respects us.

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  • Feb 15, 2012 - 12:30AM

    @Zalmai:
    u r propagating, u didnt replied to my point of view? dun u think so regional plaeyrs should reach to settlement and America lost the war as starting negotiations with Taliban after fighting 10 years is a sign of defeat ??

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  • CK
    Feb 15, 2012 - 12:35AM

    The only thing Karzai can press is his clothes.

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  • Wahab
    Feb 15, 2012 - 12:15PM

    He can not be trusted. He’s very pro-india.

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