Deciphering the roadmap: US, Pakistan to push for Afghan endgame deal

Published: October 20, 2011
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hands with US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker upon her arrival in Kabul. PHOTO AFP

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hands with US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker upon her arrival in Kabul. PHOTO AFP

ISLAMABAD: In what seems an unprecedented development, Pakistan and the US will push for a ‘deal’ on the Afghan endgame when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets the country’s top civil and military leadership in Islamabad during a two-day trip beginning today (Thursday).

The significance of the visit, official sources say, can be judged from the fact that Secretary Clinton will be accompanied by US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey and Central Intelligence Agency Director David Patraeus.

It is a rare instance for the secretary of state, who arrived in Kabul on an unannounced visit on Wednesday, and the US military and intelligence chiefs to undertake a joint trip to Pakistan. “This is the first time that senior US officials are coming to Islamabad together and suffice to say discussions will be on the Afghan endgame,” said a senior security official.

Another official disclosed that Secretary Clinton was arriving in Islamabad to clear up the confusion about her country’s “options and proposals” on Afghanistan. “Frankly, so far the Americans have not shared their roadmap on Afghanistan with us,” the official added. “What confuses us is that we don’t know who is in charge in Afghanistan. Is it the Pentagon or the State Department? This is complicating matters,” he said.

Sensing the importance of the visit, Pakistan’s top civil and military leadership have done their homework and prepared a joint strategy, it is believed. According to the strategy, the contents of which have been shared with The Express Tribune, Pakistan will inform the US that sustainable peace in Afghanistan can only be achieved through a meaningful political reconciliation.

(Read: Afghan war anniversary: 10 years on, the answers are blowing in the wind)

What this means, one official explains, is discussions with insurgent groups. “There is a need to first identify reconcilable groups,” he said. Pakistan might also insist that the US drop preconditions attached to negotiations with the Afghan Taliban. “Afghanistan is a tribal society and they never accept any preconditions and we understand that the US is also now convinced,” the official added.

The strategy also talks of Pakistan’s fears regarding growing Indian influence in Afghanistan. “Pakistan has no issues if the US thinks that by giving India a lead role it will bring sustainable peace in Afghanistan. But obviously that is not the case,” the official pointed out.

(Read: Karzai‘s great gamble)

Another area of concern for Pakistan is the Afghan National Army. Pakistan argues that a 400,000-strong Afghan army will disband into splinter groups when the international forces led by the US pull out of the war-torn country. Based on this assumption, Islamabad believes that the US needs to rethink its strategy.

It is unclear whether the US will endorse Pakistan’s point of view given the differences between the two countries on some strategic issues, such as how to tackle the Haqqani network. The US has so far remained adamant in its demand for a military offensive against the group.

The Pakistan Army has resisted US pressure, though the army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, told parliamentarians on Tuesday that if he was convinced that an operation in North Waziristan would bring about peace in Afghanistan, he would do it tomorrow.

Despite differences, experts say the countries have mutual interests. “Pakistan and the US don’t wish to see Afghanistan used against any third country,” said Rustam Shah Mohmand, former ambassador to Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (36)

  • Enlightened
    Oct 20, 2011 - 6:53AM

    ‘US will push for a ‘deal’ on the Afghan endgame…’

    That sounds overly dramatic. They just perhaps want to get Paks all excited but oo early for that talk.

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  • riz
    Oct 20, 2011 - 7:02AM

    they would leave after making this region almost hell

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  • Oct 20, 2011 - 7:11AM

    They can move out by air transport, why they want Pakistan help?

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  • Feroz
    Oct 20, 2011 - 7:48AM

    The Military chief and CIA Director are coming because they will confront the COAS with the proof of links with terror groups. The basic message will be cooperate or you will be left to yourself to swim or drown. Diplomatic language will of course be used to give a spin. This could be the last and final chance for Pakistan.

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  • Mirza
    Oct 20, 2011 - 8:03AM

    Mrs. Clinton please make sure that you get a verifiable and actionable intelligence from Pakistan before any aid starts flowing. There have to be specifics items with dates and targets that must be met on time. No more $20 billion while OBL living in luxury. Please make sure that all the truth comes out and no more lies and false promises. This is the most Islamic and patriotic thing for Pakistanis that the whole truth comes out. Otherwise like all investigations nothing would come out and people would be kept in dark and poor. Last but not the least, all US aid must be in the form of goods and not cash for civilian use. Our civilians have suffered a lot and need some relief for a change. Recommend

  • Pundit
    Oct 20, 2011 - 8:28AM

    “Pakistan has no issues if the US thinks that by giving India a lead role it will bring sustainable peace in Afghanistan. But obviously that is not the case,”

    “Pakistan has no issues if the US thinks that by giving Pakistan a lead role it will bring sustainable peace in Afghanistan. But obviously that is not the case,”

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  • DILU
    Oct 20, 2011 - 9:14AM

    Nice to see a large number of Indians following Pakistan related news. They are over obsessed with Pakistan :). However their dreams of US attacking Pakistan will never come true. At the most what India can do is to keep on using its ‘veritable arms’ in Afghanistan against Pakistan. However India now can only play these games for the next couple of years may be it has to exit Afg before that. I feel pitty for poor India as they have wasted a large amount of money and time in all this mess. They should have used this money to give their poor ppl who living on foot paths and to their children who dont have any thing to eat. According to UNICEF,

    Malnutrition is more common in India than in Sub-Saharan Africa. One in every three malnourished children in the world lives in India.”

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  • Haqqani
    Oct 20, 2011 - 9:26AM

    Feroz: after this last & final chance what will happen ? Pakistan is not responsible for security of NATO & US troops in afghanistan & there has been more violation from their part of border than ours!

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  • Indian
    Oct 20, 2011 - 10:14AM

    Hillary clinton is coming with a carrot & stick policy……to tell pak that either you are with us or against us. It is time for Pak establishment to take a firm decision whether they are with Haqqanis or with US

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  • Oct 20, 2011 - 10:51AM

    Vienna,20-10-2011
    The visit is for the unannounced revival of stalled Strategic
    Talks in the context of forgotten Anti Terror War for Pakistan´s
    very survival, SURVIVAL.She is coming after cutting all foreign
    sources of finance including from Libya of the hiding Qaddafi
    or Gaddhafi.Take it in perspective, the last laugh would be
    Hillarious!!!
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    —Kulamarva Balakrishna

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  • Pundit
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:02AM

    @DILU: The “verbal assault ” that the US has launched has against Pakistan speaks volumes.

    Today Pakistan is isolated and despised.

    Is that not enough?

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  • saeed
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:09AM

    @Feroz..Don’t tell me that The American Military chief and CIA Director called you yesterday that for what they are coming..and the also instructed you to post a comment on ET today on there behalf..isn’t it….

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  • Pundit
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:15AM

    ““Frankly, so far the Americans have not shared their roadmap on Afghanistan with us,” the official added. “What confuses us is that we don’t know who is in charge in Afghanistan. Is it the Pentagon or the State Department?”

    ,ybe the Americans dont want/care to share it with you

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  • Pundit
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:17AM

    “The strategy also talks of Pakistan’s fears regarding growing Indian influence in Afghanistan.”

    BTW India also has growing influence in Washington……

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  • Pundit
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:19AM

    We should rename Afghanistan as “Pakistan’s Backyard”

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  • Diggvijay Singh
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:32AM

    This is a major diplomatic triumph for Pakistan after yesterday’s bold and resilient statement by General Kayani which scared the US think tank. Pakistan’s stellar contribution to the global war on terror has to be accepted. The world must understand that Pakistan has a valid concern about its backyard, Afghanistan which might fall in the hands of non-Pashtun extremist factions spoiling the atmosphere of peace and shared prosperity created by Pakistan. Pakistan has had the roadmap for a peaceful and virtuous Afghanistan ready since 1980 and has tirelessly worked to achieve these positive goals for the sake of the rest of the world. Mrs. Clinton should in fact tally her blueprint for Afghanistan with the roadmap prepared by Pakistan and cancel those points which don’t match with Pakistan’s plans. The world needs Pakistan’s guidance and wise counsel to understand the riddle of Afghanistan, or else, I am afraid global peace will remain an illusion.

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  • sad
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:39AM

    Its About the truth of a Ancient and Historical Gurudwar at har ki paudi , Haridwar. see itself and gain knowledge of anti-sikh activities by Administration at Haridwar.India

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  • Enlightened
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:48AM

    Foreign policy of a state just reflects the present state of that state. Americans now totally tired of these perpetual manufactured wars, the economy of the country is in real bad shape, the Presidential elections/politics is already upon them…No, sir, US is not in a position to start another war and surely not with another nuclear state…

    I think in case of Pakistan, United States has used a lot of stick in last 10 years and now they just don’t have that leverage any more. Hillary and the rest of crew are visiting to normalize relationship with a very important regional player namely Pakistan…Good luck to Hillary on this!

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  • RockSolid
    Oct 20, 2011 - 12:27PM

    It is about time to pressurize USA, to move the hell out of here.

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  • Haqqani
    Oct 20, 2011 - 12:44PM

    @Pundit: watch out coz Pakistan’s backyard might one day become india’s graveyard !!!!

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  • Dilu
    Oct 20, 2011 - 1:04PM

    @Pundit: We are not afraid of verbal assault. However now we want to get rid of RAW sponsored terrorism as soon as possible. As far as isolation is concerned, most of the muslim countries which are not yet occupied by US are with Pakistan. And not to tell China is at the back of Pakistan.

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  • Dilu
    Oct 20, 2011 - 1:06PM

    @Pundit: Yeah you are right by saying, ‘,ybe the Americans dont want/care to share it with you’

    If they dont want to share it then Pakistan also does not want to help them out of this mess.

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  • Tony Singh
    Oct 20, 2011 - 1:11PM

    @Diggvijay Singh:
    Really Mr.Singh? Is a triumph of Pakistan diplomacy or has it touched a new low?

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  • Adil
    Oct 20, 2011 - 1:42PM

    Its rather immature of our leadership (civil and military) to back a destabilizing and violent power (the madrassa terrorists) just to gain influence on its western border when the Americans leave. We should listen carefully to American proposals and enlist their help in a joint operation against extremists on the western borders. Afghanistan will thank us for that and will have no reason to be hostile anymore

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  • MarkH
    Oct 20, 2011 - 2:16PM

    @Diggvijay Singh:
    I have never seen anyone, anywhere that was remotely afraid of Pakistan. Though I have seen some concerned over its habit of making disastrous and far reaching decisions. That’s the thing about pushing false “facts” onto a population. Whether or not it works on the people to make them act the way they want you to It loses effectiveness at the border.

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  • Pundit
    Oct 20, 2011 - 2:33PM

    @Haqqani Current name: Pakistan’s Graveyard
    Future Name: India’s Graveyard ( your suggestion)

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  • R S JOHAR
    Oct 20, 2011 - 3:02PM

    ‘LAST AND FINAL CALL FOR PAKISTAN TO BOARD THE US PLANE OR ELSE—–‘

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  • Haqqani
    Oct 20, 2011 - 4:41PM

    @Pundit: we are the care takers of graveyard… :)

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  • rkfrom USA
    Oct 20, 2011 - 8:41PM

    looks like the 10 times gen kiyanai was talking about is gettting reaction from USA… CLinton’s visit is to start the countdown to pak”s final days…..

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  • antanu g
    Oct 20, 2011 - 10:48PM

    why we indians should be so obessed with pakistan? we claim that pak is a non entity…but our comments reflect deep fear of pak…and any prospect of its getting stability.so much for our claim of an emerging super power.

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  • maxwell
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:12AM

    @DILU…probably you need a grounder on policies on south asia. China on the back of Pakistan?? You are kidding boy….You did turn to China during Kargil, what happened?? They refused Pakistan and told you you to run to US in the lap of Clington and beg to be saved…thats how it was done too. China is not mad, nor emotional. It has trade with Pakistan of 8 billion and with India it has of 64 billion….you think it is going to support you against India, when it is already suffering because of extremists trained in Pakistan??

    As far as RAW activities in Baluchistan is concerned, I dont think, you have business to complain, as long as Pakistan can not control activities in kashmir, RAW can not do so in Baluchistan…the game is on…tit for tat.

    You want to do business, India will do business, you will spread terror at our hand, you will be paid in same coin, simple…no complaints at all. You do what you can, we do what we can…

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:04PM

    Haqqani v/s Pandit

    What I feel that Gaddafi was havier than Haqqani.

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:18PM

    @ Diggy ,

    understand the riddle of
    Afghanistan, or else, I
    am afraid global peace
    will remain an illusion

    Illusion is about to end..,Now or never.

    All those who live in illusion are being eleminated physically or POLITICALLY .
    See , the Gaddafi gone

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:22PM

    Well , Maxwell…..

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  • Dr Kadar Khan FRCS. FACS
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:29PM

    *General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, told parliamentarians on Tuesday that if he was convinced that an operation in North Waziristan would bring about peace in Afghanistan, he would do it tomorrow.*

    Why was he then said that Pak Army was too stretched for an op in North Waziristan and that we have no time and resources to do it.

    I think the time has come to confront all these issues head on as the whole world considers us to be duplicitous liars, cheats and what not. Where’s our pride? Recommend

  • Observer
    Oct 21, 2011 - 8:20PM

    @DILU: Money spent for good causes is never wasted even if alqeda/ bad Taliban come back in power which is what Pakistan wants. India has already won the hearts of real Afghanis and the World with positive actions. Eventually the right will win over the wrong. PAkistan is in the wrong today. The reasoning that these Taliban were oncesupported by US does not rationalize continued support just as Pakistanis’ explanation of potential revenge attacks if it goes after Haanis does not take away the fact that this is Pakistanis war and they must pay whatever price for past wrong judgements. US had simply made US ofa willing Pakistan during Soviet war. That is the way international politics works and the fact remains that it was Pakistani’s responsibility to make a call not US at that time. Unlike this time, Pakistan had not been armtwisted then.

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