Afghan reconciliation: Grossman moves to dispel Pakistan’s fears

Published: August 4, 2011
US concedes mistake of abandoning Pakistan after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. PHOTO: APP

US concedes mistake of abandoning Pakistan after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. PHOTO: APP


President Barack Obama’s pointman for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman on Wednesday tried to dispel mounting fears that Washington was trying to bypass Islamabad in the Afghan reconciliation process.

At a meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Grossman said that the US does not contemplate any reconciliation in Afghanistan without Pakistan. The meeting came amid reports that the US was considering keeping Pakistan out of the loop on the reconciliation process.

The fourth round of the trilateral talks which were held between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US in Islamabad on Tuesday failed to produce any tangible results due to simmering tensions between Islamabad and Washington.

According to a statement issued by the prime minister’s press office, Gilani emphasised that the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan should be on the same page to deny any legroom for militants to capitalise on, and Islamabad was looking forward to a positive outcome of the forthcoming conference in Istanbul and Bonn.

He also underlined his apprehensions about Pakistan once again being left ‘high and dry’ to suffer the fallouts from the US policy in Afghanistan. Ambassador Grossman conceded that it was a mistake to abandon Pakistan after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in early 1990s and assured that the same would not be repeated. He agreed with the prime minister on the need for the repatriation of the 3.5 million Afghan refugees still on Pakistani soil.

The upcoming visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Pakistan would be an opportunity to exchange views on a host of issues and forward movement between the two countries was essential in containing the militant threat, he added.

The prime minister reiterated the joint resolve of Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s leaderships to root out militancy as both had suffered immensely due to insecurity.

He added that Pakistan was working to ensure Afghanistan’s connectivity in the region through the Trade Agreement (APTA). Furthermore, he said that it was extremely important for Pakistan to see a sovereign, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

Ambassador Grossman agreed with the prime minister’s views about the criticality of economic development as an essential part of an Afghan-owned reconciliation process.

The prime minister said that he was happy that his idea of three ‘Ds’ – dialogue, development and deterrence – was being realised as a way forward by the international community to achieve stability through economic development.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Aadersh
    Aug 3, 2011 - 2:42PM

    Americans realize things after series of blunders….It was obvious they cannot succeed in Afghanistan without Pakistan!!


  • chandran
    Aug 3, 2011 - 2:54PM

    100% agree with u people in this case because both side of durand line huge pastun population are living side by side


  • Wellwisher
    Aug 3, 2011 - 2:55PM

    US is wrong in believing that reconciliation in Afghanistan would not be possible without Pakistan’s help. What happened during the Taliban rule in Afghanistan prior to 2000. Did they listen to Pakistan. The only major issue of Durand Line was not settled. It needs a share in poppy harvest. That is all.


  • guest-worker
    Aug 3, 2011 - 5:08PM

    @Wellwisher: Lines in the sand lines in the mountains.. After the Berlin line such thinking will be passe. We have to solve the railway line to Europe problem and we will do it even if we have to trash USA in the process


  • chandran
    Aug 3, 2011 - 5:12PM

    now pakistha will act as chaudhry on afghan afairs? one has to wait and see


  • Babloo
    Aug 3, 2011 - 5:32PM

    Reconciliation not possible without Pakistan participation
    Reconciliation not possible with Pakistan involvement

    Both statements are true.


  • Cautious
    Aug 3, 2011 - 6:55PM

    That’s diplomatic speak which defies common sense. No one trust Pakistan – certainly not the USA/Taliban/Afghanistan. Pakistan has a reputation for two faced dealing and no one wants a traitor sitting at the negotiating table — sooner or later they are going to double cross you.


  • Hedgefunder
    Aug 3, 2011 - 8:23PM

    Yes, its not possible because Pakistan have been playing Hide and Seek Games in the Country for too long !!!
    They also are reluctant to leave it alone and deal with their own internal problems, but like to play a role on International Stage for their Ego’s sake !!!


  • realize
    Aug 3, 2011 - 10:44PM

    Exactly like peace is not possible in Karachi without the nod of MQM.Recommend

  • Santoshouille
    Aug 4, 2011 - 4:54AM

    The great discussion & new deal ! Looking great !! Perfectly sound !!!

    To get into an action and to control the terrorist activities in Pakistan & Afghanistan .It’s too necessary that all three of them need to act properly . In a real sense , any exchange of knowledges & ideas could able to bring everlasting peace in a region .Most importantly , It’s the time to decide “What does the future hold for them ? “.

    Think about it seriously !!


  • Aug 4, 2011 - 8:13AM

    It’s getting to the point that nobody wants Pakistan’s “help.” They always find a way to cause anyone who comes in contact with them a whole lot of funeral costs. Really, Pakistan’s involvement in any discussion has a negative outcome just by being aware they’re involved. When you negotiate you try to find common ground and sincere mutual agreements to lighten the load of things you need to watch over your shoulder for. If Pakistan is there, it’s almost pointless to talk at all. If they’re not there, at least you can plan contingency plans for when you get the “welcome to the family” series of explosions. If they are there, you may as well just broadcast it to the world and give your enemies front row seats. Also, considering their habit to exaggerate, them revealing every last word that is spoken isn’t the only worry. They’re sure to add on whatever comes from their imagination when it’s on the way out of their mouth and twist other parts for a fake upperhand they think nobody notices. While every last person does notice and are just being patient about when they bring it up for the sake of damage control.

    Really, what bordering countries should avoid like the plague is Pakistan’s involvement. Their biggest topic of discussion for the best would be trying to negotiate a way that Pakistan comes down with amnesia that you even exist in return for the same. Pretty much the whole world would be jealous if they succeeded in that negotiation. They only really humor Pakistan with friendly and politically correct talk. In reality, if Pakistan is in the picture, it’s just safer to play nice since, at the very least, it puts you at more of an advantage than if you ignored their existence. The first gives you a little bit of a chance in terms of saving peoples lives whereas the second will get you killed 100% of the time.


  • Haider
    Aug 4, 2011 - 12:44PM

    Grossman conceded that it was a
    mistake to abandon Pakistan after the
    withdrawal of Soviet troops in early
    1990s and assured that the same would
    not be repeated

    – Suspension of aid of $800 million per year (Israel no. 1 violator of international law still get $30 billion)
    – Inconclusive so called strategic dialog
    – Unfulfilled promise of development of Reconstruction Opportunities Zones in FATA where Pakistan launched military operations
    – Propaganda against ISI and Army to isolate Pakistan
    – Hurdles in installing border fence along Pak Afghan border to stop infilitration
    – Reduction in check posts of NATO along Pak Afghan border
    These all say some other kind of story.

    and at the end Pakistan has to fight War on Terror for the world on its on feet.
    We dont need aid but we need trade. We need access to US and European markets


  • Faraz
    Aug 4, 2011 - 12:46PM

    @ MH

    First of all, Pakistan isn’t asking people to get help from it. It’s a fact that any attempts to make peace in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s involvement would be futile, just as any attempts to make peace in Kashmir without India’s involvement is in-achievable, or how peace in Palestine without Israel is not possible. You talk as if you don’t have any knowledge of how diplomacy in war-ravaged countries work. Makes me think you’re definitely a 10th grade student.


  • Hedgefunder
    Aug 4, 2011 - 5:03PM

    I would advise, you and Pakistan to refrain from making any remarks or comparisions with the State of Israel, as the Law Makers in Washington may even suspend, whatever Aid is still being handed out to Pakistan !!!!
    Its a well known fact, that nobody has ever been elected to the office of President, without the approval of Jewish Lobby!!!
    Hence America’s very special relationship with Israel, and no solution to palestinian problem !!!


  • Incredible
    Aug 4, 2011 - 6:54PM

    @Faraz: I am a 10th. grade student. Please explain to me how “attempts to make peace in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s involvement would be futile”.

    Also explain what is going on in Karachi? Afghanistan comes second.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Aug 5, 2011 - 12:07AM

    In regards to Afghanistan, due to historical lack of recognised internatinal border between these two nations and the local inhabitant’s tribal way of life, its always been an area where people have simply come and gone across without normal formalities, however all this changed over period of soviet occupation and than Pakistan’s ambitions in the region, hence the mess today !! Now pakistan likes to play its role as regional power, however it can not solve the mess in its own house !!!
    In regards to Karachi its very simple, the sponsored thugs affiliated to various different political parties are simply fighting out turf wars and innocent people are becoming part of collateral damage, and the number of casualties are rising daily and the inability of authorities to bring situation under control is International News!!!!
    That should give you some grasp of both the situations.Recommend

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