Pakistan, Britain back bid for Afghan peace

By AFP
Published: July 19, 2012
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Cameron and Karzai met Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for the first time. PHOTO: AFP

Cameron and Karzai met Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for the first time. PHOTO: AFP

KABUL: Afghan efforts to negotiate with the Taliban need Islamabad’s help to be successful, the leaders of Afghanistan, Britain and Pakistan emphasised on Thursday, following three-way talks in Kabul.

British leader David Cameron and Afghan President Hamid Karzai met Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for the first time, as British and NATO combat troops prepare to leave Afghanistan in 18 months’ time.

Karzai has long sought to negotiate with the Taliban, who have been fighting for a decade to topple his Western-backed government, but the militia has in public refused to deal with his administration, branding it an American puppet.

Earlier this year the militia also announced that it had abandoned contact with US officials in Qatar aimed at securing a prisoner swap.

During the talks, Karzai reiterated the “urgency” of a political solution. His office said Ashraf and Cameron reaffirmed support for such a process, “led and owned by Afghans, facilitated by Pakistan and other regional countries”.

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan traditionally suffer from distrust and mutual blame for the Taliban violence that plagues both countries.

Kabul has repeatedly asked Islamabad to assist efforts to broker a peace deal with the Taliban, whose leaders have traditionally had close ties to Pakistan.

But it remains unclear to what extent Pakistan controls core Taliban leaders and to what extent it can facilitate a peace process.

It was Ashraf’s first visit to Kabul since being elected after his predecessor was dismissed last month for contempt of court.

An Islamabad government official said he would raise the issue of cross-border attacks on Pakistan from Afghan territory and press for increased security measures to prevent such incursions in the future.

Afghanistan shares a disputed and unmarked 2,400km border with Pakistan, and Taliban and other al Qaeda-linked militants have carved out strongholds on either side.

According to the joint statement released by Kabul, the three leaders “reiterated their strong commitment to working together to eliminate” terrorism, which “poses the gravest threat to regional and international security”.

“They also emphasised the importance of peace in Afghanistan for the peace and security of Pakistan,” it said.

Cameron warned the Taliban at a joint news conference with Karzai earlier that the international community would continue to support the Afghan government after Nato troops pull out in 2014.

A Nato conference in Chicago and a donor conference in Tokyo had recently shown the West’s commitment to the war-torn country, he said.

“I think this sends a very clear message to the Taliban, that you cannot wait this out until foreign forces leave in 2014, because we will be firm friends and supporters of Afghanistan long beyond then.

“So now is the time for everyone to participate in a peaceful political process in Afghanistan.”

Karzai said the peace process was “the most important goal that we pursue”, adding that Thursday’s talks were “to see how we could intensify the Pakistan role in the Afghan peace process”.

Cameron also signed a deal to build an officers’ training academy modelled on Britain’s Sandhurst as Afghan forces take increasing responsibility for the fight against Taliban insurgents.

Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, making it the second-largest contributor to Nato’s US-led 130,000-strong International Security Assistance Force.

Asked about reductions in troop numbers, Cameron said it would be done gradually, from 9,500 to 9,000 this year.

“I don’t want to see some cliff edge. I’m confident we are going to have a staged reduction and deliver a safe and secure situation.”

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Naveed Javed
    Jul 19, 2012 - 12:33PM

    Best Wishes PM Sahab!

    Recommend

  • Zaikam
    Jul 19, 2012 - 12:38PM

    Cameron and Karzai should have a fruitful discussion with him on how to make quick money through RPPs. The guy is an expert on that. Other than that I don’t think there is anything Mr. PM has knowledge to talk about.

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  • Mohammad
    Jul 19, 2012 - 12:45PM

    It was the long way to come.. from Bata Factory’s Foreman to a Prime Minister..it’s real example of luck by chance.

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  • Rana
    Jul 19, 2012 - 12:53PM

    Guys look at face of Poor PM! Doesn’t look like a person being driven by some else one??

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  • tric
    Jul 19, 2012 - 1:09PM

    Welcome to Afghanistan Mr. Prime Minister?

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  • Nauman
    Jul 19, 2012 - 1:13PM

    I thought his name was on ECL!

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  • Nasir Mahmood
    Jul 19, 2012 - 1:13PM

    I don’t think he is capable enough to handle Karzai who always speak his master voice and has insularity towards Pakistan.

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  • Shaheer Malik
    Jul 19, 2012 - 1:24PM

    Raja Rental & Karzai both have no respect in their own nation. What will be the out come of the meeting?

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  • Parvez
    Jul 19, 2012 - 1:33PM

    Lets hope he has taken a senior foreign ministry interpreter along with him and has the good sense to use that person.

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  • Al-Chemisto
    Jul 19, 2012 - 5:36PM

    10 Likes for the pic!

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  • Muhammad Ahsan KHAN
    Jul 19, 2012 - 6:41PM

    “The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide the defence.”

    “Karzai has long sought to negotiate with the Taliban, who have been fighting for a decade to topple his Western-backed government, but the militia has in public refused to deal with his administration, branding it an American puppet.”

    Karzai wants to negotiate with the Taliban. The Taliban is not a regular Army but it composed of civilians (ordinary citizens). The whole group of Taliban falls in the category of “militia”.

    If the “militia=Taliban”, has refused to discuss with Karzai, then with which “Taliban” Karzai and his friends will be discussing??Recommend

  • ali
    Jul 19, 2012 - 7:51PM

    yawn…almost over…soon the puppets will be gone…TATA

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  • V. C. Bhutani
    Jul 19, 2012 - 7:55PM

    This paper has the speciality of Pakistan not saying much on the subject. The paper speaks about Karzai and Cameron but Ashraf is barely mentioned. So, we remain largely in the dark about what Ashraf or Pakistan wants in the matter of peace in Afghanistan after December 2014.
    In the past, Pakistan worked overtime to ensure that the Afghan Taliban were part of the negotiation between the Americans and the Afghans. Pakistan’s objective was to ensure that the Afghan Taliban were put in a commanding position in the situation arising after the Isaf withdrawal. There was hardly any doubt that Pakistan expected the Afghan Taliban to plant themselves in power as soon as possible after December 2014. It was said that Pakistan hoped to control Afghanistan through the intermediary of the Afghan Taliban, with whom it was said to have a close relationship.
    Nothing has happened in the recent past to lead us to think that Pakistan’s approach has changed at all. Whether it is the Afghan Taliban or the Haqqani Network or the LeT or any other terrorist outfit, Pakistan hoped to use them as its “assets” and make sure that Afghanistan had all the trappings of independence and sovereignty but no pretensions to either. In a word, Pakistan would have been effectively annexed by Pakistan – without the obligation to organize the administration of Afghanistan, which would continue to remain with the Afghan “independent” and “sovereign” rulers who would pick up all the opprobrium for everything that went wrong: nothing could have gone right any way.
    Now, if this remains Pakistan’s principal concern about Afghanistan, then what can Karzai and Cameron hope for in the days to come? The result can only be absolute disaster, which shall not be long in coming.
    Pakistan seems to forget that Afghans are traditionally opposed to having a ruler or a leader who had not been erected by them. Whether it was Shah Shuja or Najibullah or Karzai, Afghans never accepted him. Will they accept Pakistan’s overlordship? Personally, I believe the Afghan Taliban shall effect their ascension to power not long after December 2014 but they are unlikely to pass under Pakistan’s tutelage.
    V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, India, 19 July 2012, 2015 IST

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  • Jul 19, 2012 - 10:55PM

    It would be not fruitful until United States stop drone attacks in the tribal areas In Pakistan.
    Drones strikes creates counterproductive.
    This practice provide Taliban tremendous support in form of recruiting.
    Reaction compelled for joining Taliban.

    Table talk must be continued and in the meanwhile should move on the way leading to peace.
    Taliban has expressed their positive approach in this connection.

    As for as Pakistan is concerned,it has been opposing insurgency and fighting against terrorism in the region since long.
    It is wrong to say,extremists are proposed,financed and plotted into Pakistan.
    In fact, there are no safe havens into Pakistan.

    Safe havens are happened on both sides in remote areas bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan. that is not approachable by the stack holders.

    War against terror may be prolonged but it would be not fruitful for any of the partner so it must be finished .

    Pakistan can play a vital role in this regard.

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  • Jul 19, 2012 - 11:04PM

    Be ignited here and where all around,
    Egypt,Libya ,Iraq and Afghanistan,
    remaining world would see solution not U.N.

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  • Jul 19, 2012 - 11:38PM

    Pakistan and Afghan leader in the footage looks very happy, smiling and handshaking.
    But there is deep suspicion with lack of mutual confidence.
    As have seen each side openly accusing each other of fomenting terrorist attacks across the
    mountainous frontier region that divides them.

    Recommend

  • ParvezM
    Jul 20, 2012 - 12:26AM

    @V. C. Bhutani:
    Only America will decide the final outcome. All others are puppets.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Jul 20, 2012 - 12:33AM

    @ Bhutani

    In a word, Pakistan would have been effectively annexed by Pakistan – without the obligation to organize the administration of Afghanistan, which would continue to remain with the Afghan “independent” and “sovereign” rulers who would pick up all the opprobrium for everything that went wrong: nothing could have gone right any way.
    Now, if this remains Pakistan’s principal concern about Afghanistan, then what can Karzai and Cameron hope for in the days to come? The result can only be absolute disaster, which shall not be long in coming.

    Mr. Bhutani you did not take the Strategic Partnership Agreement into consideration while formulating your hypothesis. Per your hypothesis the Taliban will come marching in to Kabul after December 2014 with their White flags atop their trucks and motorcycles and the Afghans will roll out the red carpet and welcome Amir ul Momineen and his deputy Haqqani straight to the royal palace. Wishful thinking for a lot of non Afghans and enemies of Afghanistan.

    This is not going to happen with the presence of US jets still patrolling the skies of Afghanistan and the US Special Forces keeping watch on the ground. As a matter of fact, the Afghan National Army will rout the Taliban without the help of US forces.

    A paradigm shift is in the making within Afghanistan and the wider region. Myopic spoilers in the region that fail to accept these changes will have to have their arm twisted to see the light and light they shall see, sooner or later.

    Recommend

  • 1984
    Jul 20, 2012 - 1:07AM

    Both Britain and Pakistan want peace in Afghanistan

    Its just that Britain doesn’t want Taliban in that peaceful Afghanistan,whereas Pakistan wants Taliban in Afghanistan

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  • Jul 20, 2012 - 2:33AM

    good point there must be peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan should also participate in it

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  • Jul 20, 2012 - 1:39PM

    Negotiations with Taliban.
    There are some conditions in the way on which talk is essential.
    Taliban dislikes Karzai because they understand him American stooge.
    So they never attend the negotiation table in the presence of Karzai.
    Secondly they want release of all Taliban arrested now passing days as a
    prisoners in different jails specially in Cuba.

    Drones strikes must be stopped because it is not only violation of international law but also violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

    Huqqani Net Work, that is powerful Taliban’s wing have some reservations deserve to hear .
    Pakistan in this regard can play vital role.

    Recommend

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