Hopes weak for Pakistan-Afghanistan peace talks

By AFP
Published: November 12, 2012

Support from Pakistan is seen as crucial to peace in Afghanistan beyond 2014. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: A high-level Afghan delegation was due to arrive in Pakistan on Monday for talks on peace in the war-torn nation, but analysts warned that without Taliban involvement little would come of the negotiations.

Members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, led by chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, are to meet Pakistani political leaders and the head of the powerful military over the coming three days.

Support from Pakistan, which backed the Taliban regime that held power in Kabul from 1996 to 2001, is seen as crucial to peace in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

Afghan-Pakistani talks were derailed more than a year ago amid a welter of accusations when Rabbani’s father Burhanuddin, then head of the peace council, was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

Afghan officials lashed out at Islamabad over the killing of the former president of Afghanistan, saying it was planned in Pakistan and carried out by a Pakistani, while Islamabad blamed Afghan refugees living in Pakistan.

Suspicion and mistrust have long dogged ties between the two neighbours and Kabul has accused Pakistan of supporting Taliban militants in their 11-year insurgency against the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

This week’s talks come as efforts to end the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan gain a new urgency as the withdrawal of US-led Nato combat troops – planned for the end of 2014 – looms ever closer.

But analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai warned no progress of any substance would be made this week, beyond Rabbani getting to meet the Pakistani side for the first time.

“The problem is that the Afghan government has not been in contact with Taliban. Even Rabbani has not been able to get in touch with the Taliban since he became chairman of the council,” Yusufzai told AFP.

“How is it possible to achieve results in such a situation when the council has not been in contact with the Taliban?”

Preliminary contacts between the United States and the Taliban in Doha were broken off in March when the militants failed to secure the release of five of their comrades held in Guantanamo Bay.

Yusufzai said that while Pakistan has some influence over the Taliban it was unrealistic to think Islamabad could convince the militants to return to the negotiating table.

Such a move would require “confidence-building measures” from the United States, he said.

Analyst Hasan Askari said that while Kabul and Washington might be keen for some kind of accommodation with parts of the Taliban, the insurgents had little incentive to talk, knowing Nato will leave in two years.

“They are waiting for withdrawal of international troops and are confident that they can make life for Kabul government miserable,” he told AFP.

Reader Comments (8)

  • Aryabhat
    Nov 12, 2012 - 5:10PM

    Max no. of Pakistanis killed in war – is in current war against militancy.

    Biggest no. of Pakistanis killed in past in war – is when Mahmud of Ghazni massacered Multan (including Mulani Muslims and even the Imam of main mosque), and people inn large swathe of Punjab and Sindh.

    Point it: Pakistan should not be happy about in coming chaos in Afhganistan. ONLY way Pakistan can survive as a society in its current way of life is for it to allow a prosporous and stable Afghanistan!

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  • Afzaal Khan
    Nov 12, 2012 - 6:47PM

    @Aryabhat

    Point is India should stay out of Afghanistan because your mere prsence is destablizing Afghanistan. Otherwise Pakistan can withdraw and you can invent startrek beaming technology and be buddy buddy with Afghanistan

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  • urt
    Nov 12, 2012 - 6:57PM

    @Afzaal Khan:
    r u joking?? there is a good future for you in this field.
    its you pakkees are destabilizing afghanistan

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  • Jewcifer
    Nov 12, 2012 - 7:19PM

    “The welfare of America is in the political dispute between three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.” Henry Kissinger

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  • Aryabhat
    Nov 12, 2012 - 7:42PM

    @Afzaal Khan, Prey enlighten me how Indians are destabilizing Afghanistan? By Opening schools or by building its Parliamentary building?

    As for Pakistan withdrawing, since when Pakistan was supporting re-building of Afghanistan in first place?

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  • Ghorzang
    Nov 12, 2012 - 10:00PM

    @Afal Khan

    Kindly remove the Khan from your name as you are a disgrace to Pashtuns with your ill informed rhetoric. Afghanistan is a sovereign state and it reserves the right to align itself with any nation of its liking.

    Pakistan has been destabilizing Afghansitan for the last 30 years and you are talking about India destabilizing Afghanistan. You have no idea what you are talking about. Aryabhat mentioned that India is building infrastructure, parliament building, hospitals and schools and if that is a destabilizing act then I guess the Pakistan proxies killing Afghans and destroying schools is a positive and stabilizing act. Please get your head out of your you know what.

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  • JSM
    Nov 12, 2012 - 10:37PM

    @Afzaal Khan:
    Pakistan had startegic depth is Afganistan. It is ok for Pakistan to have military related assets in Afganistan but Indian investment for development in Afganistan will destabilise Afganistan. This logic does not make sense.

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  • Enlightened
    Nov 13, 2012 - 3:14PM

    @Ghorzang:
    Some pretty harsh words but true analysis.

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