Regional security issues will figure prominently on the agenda as the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Afghanistan and their Western and regional counterparts convene in Kabul on June 14 to deliberate upon the parameters of the Afghan endgame.
Fifteen countries including Pakistan, India, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Germany, France, Japan, the United States, United Kingdom as well as representatives of the central Asian states, 14 observer nations and delegations from international and regional organisations are expected to attend the Kabul summit.
The moot is to be a follow-up to the 2011 Istanbul Conference, during which plans to contain the Taliban insurgency in post-2013 Afghanistan will also be discussed, after the exit of US-led Nato forces from the country.
The recently concluded strategic agreement between Afghanistan and the US will be in the spotlight after Pakistan, China, Russia, and Iran expressed serious concerns over the prospects of permanent US bases in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Nato drawdown.
The agreement has created a visible stir in the diplomatic circles of these countries, since the US-Afghan pact permits a retaliatory action on part of the US, if any ‘third party’ hampers the country’s interests in Afghanistan.
According to sources, the talks are all more significant from Pakistan’s point of view, as deliberations about the reopening of Nato supplies through its territory are still under way.
The Kabul summit will be equally instrumental for the Nato alliance in determining the exact constraints of the Afghan endgame, as 23,000 US troops shall be exiting the country in September this year.
President Hamid Karzai has been seeking Pakistan’s help to mediate with the Taliban leaders but Islamabad has so far been unwilling to play the arbitration role. According to officials, the Afghan administration’s constant allegations about Taliban leaders being sheltered by Pakistan have not helped matters either.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.
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