Afghanistan declines invite to send its NSA, FM to Pakistan

Published: June 18, 2016
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

KHYBER AGENCY / ISLAMABAD: Kabul has apparently refused to send to Islamabad its national security adviser and foreign minister, invited for discussion in the wake of the recent clashes between the security forces of the two neighbouring countries after Pakistan started building a gate at Torkham border as part of its new border controls.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday spoke to Afghan National Security Adviser (NSA) Hanif Atmar over phone and invited him and Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani for talks on the current situation at Torkham border amid the ongoing tension.

Pakistan, Afghanistan agree on ceasefire at Torkham border

Afghan National Security Council spokesperson Tawab Ghorzang also confirmed the Pakistani invitation but said Afghan government has decided to send instead a delegation under Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai.

Kabul’s move appears to suggest that the Afghan government is not keen to have meaningful engagement with Pakistan, commented a senior government official while requesting anonymity.

The official, however, made it clear that Pakistan would welcome any Afghan delegation as it had no intention of prolonging the tensions along the Torkham border. “The Afghan government has not yet officially responded to the invitation extended by the PM’s adviser,” he added.

No date has been announced for the visit and both sides are coordinating to decide the date.

At Torkham, the busiest border crossing between Pakistan and its western neighbour, all activities are suspended since June 12 when Afghan forces resorted to ‘unprovoked firing’ resulting in the death of two Pakistani security officials including a major.

Later, both the sides declared a ceasefire. However, tensions persist and troops are still stationed along the border while thousands of people and vehicles are stranded on both the sides.

At the heart of the controversy is a new border mechanism Pakistan has started implementing from June 1. Under the new border controls, Pakistan has now made it clear that no one will be allowed to cross the key border crossing without valid a passport and visa.

However, Afghanistan objected to Pakistan’s move and started ‘unprovoked firing’ on June 12. Later, Islamabad and Kabul summoned each other’s envoys to record their respective protest over the border incident.

Nawaz, Karzai call for peaceful resolution of Torkham border issue

Afghanistan insists Pakistan cannot build any gate along the border without its consent while Pakistan says it is building the gate 37metres on its side of the border.

In a policy statement, the PM adviser on foreign affairs said Pakistan had introduced the new border controls as part of its counter-terrorism strategy to check the infiltration of terrorists and militants.

He clarified that Afghan authorities were taken on board regarding this decision and recalled that the Afghan Ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal met senior Pakistani security officials including army chief General Raheel Sharif in May to discuss the issue.

“During that meeting, it was agreed that Afghan side will allow completion of construction works at Torkham to regulate movement of people and traffic while Pakistan will allow the smooth flow of traffic across the border crossing, while the works continues.

“Pakistan has continued to honour this understanding till the unprovoked firing from Afghan forces disrupted the movements on June 12,” the adviser added.

Contrary to the Afghan government’s claims, Aziz made it clear that Pakistan had not violated any bilateral agreement or international law while implementing these new border rules. The two countries share nearly 2,600 km border, mostly porous, and the militants take advantage of the loose control.

Nawaz, Karzai call for peaceful solution

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghanistan former president Hamid Karzai have underscored the need for peaceful solution to problems between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Can Kabul and Islamabad’s positive intentions silence warmongers?

Karzai visited Nawaz Sharif at his residence in London and enquired after his health following his open heart surgery, a statement posted on Karzai’s official Facebook account said. The Afghan leader was in London to attend a conference.

“Both sides hoped that the current difficulties would be immediately resolved,” the statement said in a veiled reference to the ongoing tensions along the Torkham border. The two leaders also stressed the need to strengthen and expand good relations between the two countries.

In his earlier statement on the Torkham issue, Karzai expressed “serious concern over the clashes at Torkham and hoped both sides would resolve the issue through diplomatic channels.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • IndianDude
    Jun 18, 2016 - 9:12AM

    …Afghan National Security Council spokesperson Tawab Ghorzang also confirmed the Pakistani invitation but said Afghan government has decided to send instead a delegation under Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai…

    Pakistan is in a such sorry state of affairs that Afghanistan only sees it fit to send a lowly rank officer of foreign ministry to meet the foreign minister, sartaj aziz, of the nuclear power self-proclaimed leader of the ummah!Recommend

  • Mirza Asif Baig
    Jun 18, 2016 - 9:20AM

    Please wait,
    Afghan Govt is waiting for approval from Indian Govt…Recommend

  • Tp
    Jun 18, 2016 - 9:22AM

    “Unprovoked firing” is the standard phrase used. Recommend

  • Arsalan Khan
    Jun 18, 2016 - 9:43AM

    Pakistan does not even have a Foreign Minister and the foreign policy is adrift. No wonder Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani is not coming to Pkaistan and they are instead sending Deputy Foreign Minister.Nawaz Sharif is acting as though he had bypass surgery when he had a minor procedure. US is fencing its border with Mexico while India is fencing its border with Bangladesh now Pakistan must fence border with Afghanistan. We must have passport controls and nobody crosses the border without visas.Recommend

  • jay
    Jun 18, 2016 - 10:12AM

    So nukes don’t earn respect, good deeds do! How come all 3 neghibours are upset with pak? Will Pakistan look inside or as usual blame outside. Mind it 2 are Muslim nation of which pak claims to be leader.
    Tribune nine but facts don’t censor.Recommend

  • Insider
    Jun 18, 2016 - 10:13AM

    Well obviously if India has to invest $2 billion in Afghanistan, there will be conditions of loyalty!! Such Afghani remarks and statements should not come as surprises to Pakistan. Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Jun 18, 2016 - 11:05AM

    Whether it’s to plead indians to play cricket or senseless cajoling of these

    ungrateful Afghan thugs Pakistani corrupt ruling class has no

    sense of self respect and dignity for this country and

    would continue bleating at others’ feet for nothing

    actually in return for this country.Recommend

  • Hakim Afghani
    Jun 18, 2016 - 11:11AM

    Sartaj aziz is a joke. Completely failed foreign policy. He should have retired 20 years ago!

    Of course no Afghan will come if you invite, first fix Afghan Taliban issue then talk about fixing relation.Recommend

  • Zen
    Jun 18, 2016 - 11:21AM

    @Mirza Asif Baig:
    India’s recommendations to Afghans was to send an under Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai. Reason given was that Pakistan had not got an approval from USA, KSA nor China.Recommend

  • Ammar
    Jun 18, 2016 - 11:41AM

    how similar is Afghanistan policy with that of India , first they start the damage and than they refuse to talk Recommend

  • Raheel the Boss
    Jun 18, 2016 - 11:53AM

    India and Afghanistan wants change in Pakistan foreign policy by the Army which is anti-India and anti-Afghanistan hence Mr.Karzai is sent to London to meet Nawaz Sharif and ask his civilian government to take control and change the foreign policy of Pakistan, but the fact is Nawaz Sharif political power has become weak and Army now has complete control of Pakistan and there are chances that Raheel Sharif is going to take charge as next President of Pakistan and mostly there won’t be next elections conducted in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Ahmed Ali khan
    Jun 18, 2016 - 11:57AM

    @IndianDude:Sartaj Aziz is not a foreign minister, he is a advisor to the Prime Minister. Recommend

  • abcd
    Jun 18, 2016 - 12:33PM

    I build a house. I have to put up a gate on the boundary wall. It is on my land that i am installing the gate. My neighbor starts firing at me because I am installing a gate on my own land….what the heck is there to talk about? Isn’t there any international law? isn’t there any common sense??? Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 18, 2016 - 12:41PM

    No amount of propaganda can cover the truth. It is not merely the new procedures at Torkham border which is the problem. Pakistan claims the structures it has built is 35 meters inside the Durand line, while Afghanistan claims those structures are 1.5 kms inside there territory. Running away from the main issue will not solve it.Recommend

  • Shankar
    Jun 18, 2016 - 1:26PM

    @Ahmed Ali khan:
    This is the problem. He doen’t advice properly to Mr.Nawas Sharif….Recommend

  • Khadim
    Jun 18, 2016 - 1:42PM

    I am amazed at Nawaz Sharif. Does this man even bother about anything? Why ask Afghanis in first place. Block their trade and let them rot. Let their newly found love Indians feed them. Btw, when Pakistan was not there, didn’t these afghanis use to attack indians and loot their wealth?Recommend

  • Afghan
    Jun 18, 2016 - 3:27PM

    An excellent decision by Afghan government, past experience shows that it is the wastage of time to have any high level negotiation with Pakistan, second that Pakistan always tried even in the very recent past to distort the agreed points after each meeting with them, no more trust over them, always riding on ellusition.Recommend

  • Marco
    Jun 18, 2016 - 3:28PM

    @Insider: Well…yes. You’ll earn some kind of loyal friendship for investing in improving the lives of people of Afghanistan. I mean, you can’t keep backstabbing your neighbor and expect him to be loyal to you. Has everyone in Pakistan lost their common sense? It has to be…otherwise…they wouldn’t keep asking questions… for which you already have answers to!!!Recommend

  • Reader
    Jun 18, 2016 - 4:14PM

    Keep building gates & walls. Nation stand with you PAKArmyRecommend

  • Mazhar
    Jun 18, 2016 - 6:00PM

    Dear neighbours its just the begining of border managment… wait for much more to fall on your ungrateful attitudes.Recommend

  • outsider
    Jun 18, 2016 - 6:21PM

    @ Insider
    Leave it $2 B ,some other country invested $30B+ in Pakistan,
    They still dreaming about Pakistan loyalty, every other day they kill terrorist by drone.
    In short money don’t buy loyalty, China is watching carefully.Recommend

  • Khan
    Jun 18, 2016 - 10:05PM

    Gate will be built whether Afghan likes it or not. However it will give Afghans another reason to die for (their favourite hobby).Recommend

  • Pushtun Voice
    Jun 18, 2016 - 10:39PM

    I would have this border sealed for 1 year – consider it a conflict zone where the troops are unsafe. Lets see who blinks first.Recommend

  • NDA
    Jun 19, 2016 - 1:16AM

    It is India which is provoking this conflict. It does not want an amicable and friendly out come of bilateral parleys between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Pak military must make a sober assessment of the situation. Things are getting out of control. India is shifting the whole game paly to Western border. Recommend

  • leela4fun
    Jun 19, 2016 - 2:17AM

    Durand Line is the core issue between Afghanistan and Pakistan and must be resolved in accordance with the wishes of the Pashtun people on both sides of the Durand line through a plebiscite. Not solving this will only strengthen the hands that pull the trigger in unprovoked firing. Recommend

  • Simply
    Jun 19, 2016 - 4:32AM

    Afghanistan did not decline the invitation but accepted it. But since Pakistan does not have a FM, it is sending the Deputy Foreign Minister.
    “Afghan National Security Council spokesperson Tawab Ghorzang also confirmed the Pakistani invitation but said Afghan government has decided to send instead a delegation under Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai.”
    The caption of this news is misleading.Recommend

  • aflatoon
    Jun 19, 2016 - 4:51AM

    The Uzbek/tajik/hazara/ are running Afghanistan now and that’s the problem here, but remember the true owners of Afghanistan the pushtoons=afghans will definitely take charge of their country may it take many years but it well because you will not be able to back wall 70% population and only bring in front the 30% (Uzbek/tajaks/hazaras)..

    closing the borders only hurts pushtoons ,that’s why Uzbek/tajik nexus are not interested in any solution , but pushtoon should realize now as where their interests lies ,in peace or vested interests of uzbaks/tajiks via their backers.

    Afghanistan needs peace and harmony so is Pakistan.Recommend

  • Jun 19, 2016 - 5:30AM

    @leela4fun:
    can you say this to kashmir since loc is temporary boundary & for last 60 plus years india is running away in united nations for having a plebiscite in kashmir. Can india agree to let kasmiris of both side to decide the future of kashmir?Recommend

  • Hakim Afghani
    Jun 19, 2016 - 7:28AM

    @aflatoon:
    Are you mad or you just don’t like to use your useless brain?
    Ashraf Ghani is 100% Pashtun. 90% of his ambassadors are Pashtuns world wide.
    Abdulla Abdulla is 50% pashtun from mother’s side.

    65% current Lower and higher Afghan parliament seats are busy by Pashtuns. Are you taking your medicine on time or you just like to spread useless information about something which you have no idea whatsoever.
    It’s a request – if you don’t have proper information about Afghanistan then please don’t comment nonsense and don’t lie 24/7/365. Thanks, but no thanks.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 19, 2016 - 5:04PM

    @Hakim Afghani:
    These guys are so brainwashed by propaganda they will believe anything. There is no will or interest in finding out from global sources why the country is considered an epicenter of terrorism. They have no idea that the Afghan government has more Pashtuns than other ethnicities, not interested in finding out either. Recommend

  • Jun 19, 2016 - 7:13PM

    well it would be very nice of them if they don’t visit….we don’t want their hypocracy , stupid diplomacy and back-stabbingRecommend

  • Khattak
    Jun 20, 2016 - 11:00AM

    @abcd

    You didn’t build the house, you stole it!Recommend

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