While stalemate between Islamabad and Washington on how to reset their troubled ties continues. Top military commanders from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US are all set to meet this week.
The meeting for the tripartite commission will be the first since Nato airstrikes on a Pakistani security forces check post near the Afghan border resulted in the deaths of 24 soldiers last November.
The crucial three-way talks in Rawalpindi will be attended by Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Afghan military chief General Sher Muhammad Karimi and Nato/Isaf commander General John Allen.
“It is in continuation of the series of regular meetings, held under the Tripartite Commission framework,” said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Talks will focus on enhancing the efficiency of border coordination measures along the Pak-Afghan border and multilateral mechanisms at operational and tactical levels, the statement added.
A military official described the meeting as significant, considering it takes place just days before the Nato summit in Chicago with Afghanistan’s future as its top agenda. Pakistan’s participation in the crucial meeting of more than 50 leaders from Nato member states hinges upon a breakthrough in its ties with the US.
Talks between the two countries are currently deadlocked over a public apology for the last November’s Nato air strikes and the use of drones inside Pakistan’s tribal belt.
However, the scheduled meeting of the tripartite commission seems to indicate that all is not bad between Pakistan and the US.
Despite this, efforts to break the deadlock apparently suffered a setback when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her recent trip to India to press Pakistan to do more in the fight against terrorism.
Reacting to her remarks, a top military commander hit back saying that Pakistan was being made a scapegoat by the US for its failure to defeat insurgents in Afghanistan.
“Why do they raise their fingers toward Pakistan? It is to shift the blame on others,” Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani said in an interview with AP on Tuesday. “Is Afghanistan free of Taliban? It has hundreds of thousands of them.”
A Pakistani official said the issue would come under discussion at the tripartite meeting and Islamabad would certainly remind the Isaf commander about the sacrifices rendered in the battle against militancy.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.