ISLAMABAD: In a possible easing of tensions, senior military officials from Pakistan, Nato and Afghanistan met for the first time in months on Wednesday in an effort to improve border coordination.
The trilateral meeting, held at the Border Coordination Center Torkham, was the first since last year’s Nato cross-border raid which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, and sent the fragile alliance between Pakistan and the US to an all-time low.
But Wednesday’s meeting, attended by Pakistan Army’s Director General Military Operations Major General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed, was the clearest indication yet that tensions between Islamabad and Washington were easing.
Pakistan reacted sharply to the November 26 Nato attacks by shutting down key supply lines for the western forces stationed in Afghanistan and ordered a complete review of cooperation with the US.
Pakistan also refused to host US officials including President Barack Obama’s point-man for the region Marc Grossman, who intended to visit Islamabad last month to discuss the progress in peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.
However, in recent weeks the two sides appear closer towards ironing out their differences. One such indication was a rare briefing given by the US to Pakistan last week on its initial contacts with the Afghan Taliban.
Previously, the two countries kept their cards close to their chests on the Afghan endgame, reflecting a trust-deficit between the crucial allies.
A terse statement issued by the military’s media wing said that the meeting was part of a “tripartite engagement to discuss and improve various coordination measures on Pak-Afghan border.”
A military official told The Express Tribune that the Pakistani side emphasised the need for better coordination to avoid a repeat of last year’s airstrikes.
The official also acknowledged that the trilateral meeting would help pave the way for more engagements between Pakistan and the United States, in coming weeks.
Some sources indicate that the latest talks would be followed by another round of parleys at the level of Pakistan, Nato and Afghan military chiefs.
Interestingly, the tripartite meeting was held the same day the latest US drone strikes killed nine people in North Waziristan Agency.
The development is being seen as resumption of intelligence cooperation between Pakistan and the United States.
An American diplomat has disclosed that despite tensions, the two countries have been “sharing intelligence and cooperating with each other.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2012.
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@Singh: Does that comment somehow make up for your feelings of insecurity of seeing a white flag for over 1000 years in India when it was ruled by Muslim invaders? Perhaps you should thank the British who made India that there still isn't a metaphoric white flag in your mind. You should look in the mirror before you comment.
White flag on Pakistani post. Trade mark patent by Pakistan army.
Pakistani protestors have said they will surround this puppet parliament of Gilani, Kayani, and Zardari - trio of trash.
Pakistan is killing its own people
New government and revolution needed
Those who know the history between Afghanistan and Pakistan will know well why PAK is reluctant to confront the FATA region. As long as this region is autonomous and the guys are under control of PAK establishment, it serves as a buffer for PAK and the long brewing issue on Durand line between Afghanistan-Balochistan-Pakistan is under wrap.
Haqqani and Omar are part of this deal. OBL gang spoiled the fun, and PAK is selectively trying to get rid of them, which of course US agree. But for Afghanistan the problem is much deeper inside Haqqani and Omar territories, which of course PAK wants to protect and US is caught in the middle.
ZAB came very close to solve the problem but then PAK had coup and Afghanistan had revolution and all he'll broke loose.
I believe US now recognizes Afghanistan position on Durand line and the tribal Taliban people fear that their territory will be permanently bifurcated between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
All the skirmishes are more to do with territorial control between Afghanistan-Taliban tribe -and Pakistan than actual terrorism now. So Qatar talk is a political discussion and if Afghanistan and PAK agree to Taliban tribe concerns the end is near.
In the mean time each one is holding the fort not to get it out of control. After 2014 PAK -Afghanistan will still be facing the same problem, if Qatar talks fail.
I believe the end is in sight. All depends how far PAK is willing to go in concessions.
@US Centcom, There is no success, time to stop dreaming.
The terrorists striving to work against our efforts and plague the region with their terrorist activities should view this as a setback. They have had the opportunity to carry forward their dark and evil motives due to the decreased level of cooperation between our nations. Now, the focus is shifting to our ultimate wish and desire to bring stability to the region and efforts are in place to iron the differences that are halting our progress. We welcome all efforts intended to improve the joint cooperation for the sake of achieving our common objectives. We are hopeful of creating a better working environment which will not only contribute to our success but prove detrimental to our common enemies.
@Hedgefunder: I think the real duplicity comes from India which is pretending to help Afghanistan but instead is involved in using that nation as a basis to continue terrorism. I think one added benefit of erecting a wall on the Pak Afghan border would be preventing the intrusion of Indian agents.
@Hedgefunder: Please do feel free to appreciate a good effort for a change.
@Hedgefunder, Who doesn't work on their agenda? You're failing pretty bad in your Pakistan bashing, need to try harder.
@Hedgefunder: Everyone in the region is working on its own agenda why not Pakistan. The only thing is that other partners want Pakistan to work on their agenda not her own.
These meetings are complete waste of time ! When one of the partners is involved in duplicity and working on their own agenda, rather than for the main objective of reigning in these terrorists !! Its time Pakistan learns that there is no such thing as assets, and acknowledge the very fact that Afghanistan is not their provience eithe, but an independant Country !!! If they don't, then the end game is going to be very difficult and it will be Pakistan who will find these elements already residing in the country causing mayhem within the country, as they already are !