Tripartite commission: Top commanders discuss Salala raid, NATO routes

Published: May 14, 2012

Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani with US Gen John Allen, Afghan army chief Gen Sher Muhammad Karimi and other delegates at Rawalpindi. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

Top military commanders from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nato met on Sunday to discuss contentious issues, almost six months after a deadly US air raid killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in Mohmand Agency which had put the Pak-US ties in a tailspin.

The Rawalpindi huddle was significant as it came only days before a key Nato summit in Chicago where Pakistan’s invitation, according to Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, hinges on its decision on the Nato supply routes which it has blocked since the air raid.

Gen John Allen, Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Afghan military commander Gen Sher Muhammad Karimi led their respective delegations at a meeting of the Tripartite Commission.

“Talks focused on border control measures, and mechanisms put in place to avoid untoward incidents on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border,” said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). Gen Allen said he was ‘very encouraged’ by the talks.

“There was agreement these meetings are important to achieving continued progress towards … a peaceful Afghanistan so that Afghanistan can no longer be a safe haven for terrorists,” Allen said, according to an Isaf statement.

Detailed discussions

A Pakistan military official requesting anonymity described the talks held in the garrison city of Rawalpindi as significant, adding that the discussions lasted for ‘several hours’.

The official told The Express Tribune that Gen Allen discussed the Salala incident in detail and also discussed steps to ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future.

The issue of Nato supply routes also came up for discussion. The official maintained that the US wanted Pakistan to take an early decision to lift the six-month-old blockade on vital land routes for western forces stationed in Afghanistan.

“The impact of the continued suspension is now taking its toll on the foreign forces in Afghanistan,” said another official, who also claimed that the US had now threatened to block all financial aid if supplies were not reopened.

The official acknowledged that Pakistan might succumb to intense pressure on the reopening of Nato supply lines without receiving an unconditional public apology from the US for last year’s Nato attack.

Pakistan is expected to take a final decision whether to resume the supplies next week when the Defence Committee of the Cabinet meets to discuss the issue.

The decision would eventually pave the way for Pakistan’s participation in the Chicago summit which is to discuss the Afghan endgame. Diplomats on both sides have been keen to resolve the impasse between Islamabad and Washington before the summit on May 21-22.

“I don’t think Pakistan will miss this opportunity,” the official said, indicating Islamabad’s eagerness to attend the historic gathering.

Sunday’s parleys were followed by face-to-face talks between Gen Kayani and Gen Allen on how to improve security in volatile areas bordering the two countries. (with Additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • CK
    May 14, 2012 - 3:39AM

    Its very sad to see that the lives of our soldiers are more important than the lives of the civilians who have died in drone attacks. Pakistan should at least start gathering tax from vehicles carrying NATO supplies and get reimbursed for its “efforts” in the afpak border region. It should open the supply lines one day after the Chicago Summit to send a clear signal to the Sec. Gen. of NATO that coercion and threats won’t work.

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  • kala_bacha
    May 14, 2012 - 4:27AM

    How could they all stand together after been said multiple time that they don’t trust each other.
    Mein kiskey haath pe apna lahoo talash karoon
    tamam shehr ne pehney huvey hain dastaneinemphasized text

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  • Azim
    May 14, 2012 - 5:41AM

    3 idiots.

    Pakistan Zindabad

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  • Parvez Amin
    May 14, 2012 - 5:48AM

    There is no justification for opeing the supply route. It is tantamount to accepting that the Americans have a right to be in Afghanistan. The best way to give them aand anyone else who wants it, is to ensure the route is used to transport traded goods…. NOT WEAPONS OF DEATH.

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  • Hasan
    May 14, 2012 - 6:50AM

    High and clear- the people of Pakistan reject NATO routes.

    No discussion!

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  • Hasan
    May 14, 2012 - 6:53AM

    The people of Pakistan reject this.

    Divert from this war now. The people do not want this.

    The people do not want this

    The people do not want this

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  • May 14, 2012 - 8:11AM

    I thought US needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs US. What happened to that theory!

    No matter how much Pakistanis delude themselves into believing this, its just not true. The bubble has to burst eventually.

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  • May 14, 2012 - 9:21AM

    @Tripartite commission: Top commanders discuss Salala raid, NATO routes

    To be precise, it is one of the most sensitive time for the forces of Pakistan…..who have seen themselves in a never ending never anticipated battle within and from outside………..
    The line “Pak may collapse to outside pressure for lifting the blockade”…………..hmm easier said than done……..if it happens with keeping in mind the response and stand our forces took on the issue, with a clear verdict that it was done intentionally……………
    I wonder what the boys in uniform (standing here) will take back to there troops guarding the frontier……….will logic prevail or the reasons………it will be the most disasterous decision for the moral of our troops……………….

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  • Kashif
    May 14, 2012 - 10:19AM

    Keep the supply lines closed. End of discussion.

    Do not have these tripartite meetings again. This is not for Pakistan

    Musharraf was ousted for his slavery

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  • Tariq Durrani
    May 14, 2012 - 10:44AM

    What needs to be discussed and thought through is neither the drone attacks nor the Sallala tragedy but a key question: Where do we see Pakistan going over the next 10-15 years? Will we in the not too distant a future emulate Somalia generating foreign exchange through high seas piracy or do we become more like Malasia/Turkey? This choice will be determined by key stakeholders including: clerics, the urban/rural elite conducting unending debates in the parliament that go nowhere, the bureaucracy (mostly from the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Finance), the army/ISI, the vibrant but only partially professional TV channels, and the judiciary.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    May 14, 2012 - 12:23PM

    A solution to the standoff would be, Pakistan demands toll for the Nato supply life-lines to Afghanistan. In return the U.S. apologises for last year’s erronoeous attack and freezes the financial aid until further notice.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    May 14, 2012 - 1:21PM

    One wonders why so much hype was created by the establishment and their acolytes in the media if all had to be decided by those now seen in a group photo? Please stop playing with the unqualified sentiments of the nation. It was a known fact that rejection of 40 plus countries (NATO) demand had to be accepted in one way or the other. The whole nation visibly saw all types of Ghairat and Beghairat bridages on the streets with their own versions on this contentious issue. One also wonders when will we start speaking truth and come out with real picture and following on international relationships. Anyhow it is good to see that now GHQ has taken this matter in their own hands which they could have done on day one.

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  • Zalmai
    May 14, 2012 - 7:38PM

    We all know that Pakistan will blink first and reopen routes for NATO supply trucks. All this chest thumping and empty rhetoric posted by Pakistanis here is simply hilarious. The people of Pakistan and their voices don’t factor into any decision making process when it comes to aid money.

    Pakistan is a recipient of US aid since 1947 and this aid money will keep flowing into the coffers of the powerful elite and the military establishment despite the theatrics and the dog and pony show put on by the parliament, the religious fanatics and the judiciary.

    All this is nothing new for those of us that have observed Pakistani politics over the years. We all remember Zia ul Haq and his famous line about US aid amounting to peanuts back in the 80s, yet he took those peanuts repeatedly and also met his untimely or timely death quite possibly arranged by his paymasters. Come on people wake up and smell the coffee.

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