President Karzai wins Nawaz Sharif's support for Afghan peace

Published: August 26, 2013
Email
Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai is flanked by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif upon his arrival at The Prime Minister's House in Islamabad on August 26, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai is flanked by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif upon his arrival at The Prime Minister's House in Islamabad on August 26, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Monday assured the visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai of his country’s support to the peace and reconciliation process in the war-torn Afghanistan.

Speaking at a joint news conference Nawaz Sharif with President Hamid Karzai after their official talks in Islamabad he said they held wide-ranging talks on the security and related issues of common interest and focused on the common challenges and the huge opportunities for both countries.

“I reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong and sincere support for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. We fully agreed that this process has to be inclusive, Afghan-owned and Afghan-led,” Nawaz said.

“I assured President Karzai that Pakistan will continue to extend all possible facilitation to the international community’s efforts for the realization of this noble goal,” he added, saying that Pakistan would also help reinforce regional efforts in support of stabilization of Afghanistan.

Pakistan and Afghanistan also signed an agreement to boost volume of trade and strengthen economic relationship.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his Afghan counterpart Umer Zakhelwal inked the agreement.

The signing ceremony was also witnessed by Nawaz and Karzai.

“We are advancing the cause of brotherhood between the two countries,” Karzai said.

Karzai arrived in Islamabad earlier today and was received at the airport by the Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and was given a 21 gun salute.

He was accompanied by a high-level delegation including cabinet ministers, senior officials and members of the Afghan peace council, a powerful forum set up for talks with insurgents, officials said.

This was Karzai’s first visit to Islamabad in 18 months and signals a desire by both countries to overcome distrust and hostility as 87,000 Nato combat troops prepare to leave Afghanistan next year.

Karzai was accompanied by Foreign Minister Dr Zalmai Rasoul, National Security Advisor Dr Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, Commerce Minister Dr Anwarul Haq Ahadi, Chairman of High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani, head of the security transition Dr Ashraf Ghani, Deputy Foreign Minister Irshad Ahmadi, President’s Chief of Staff Abdul Karim Khurram, Senior Advisor to the President Humaira Etemadi Ludin and Presidential spokesperson Aimal Faizi. Afghan Finance Minister Dr Umar Zakhelwal, who was in Islamabad for talks on economic cooperation, will also join the President’s entourage.

Karzai said Kabul wants the release of all Afghan prisoners who are not facing criminal charges in Pakistan.

“We want all Afghans detained in Pakistan without any judicial orders and without committing any crimes set free, particularly Afghan Taliban who fall in this category and those Taliban whose release can benefit the peace process we are obviously seeking their release,” he said.

Pakistan has freed 26 Afghan Taliban leaders including former ministers and governors since the process had started in November last year.

Afghan ambassador in Islamabad Umer Daudzai said that leaders of the two countries will also explore ways to increase cooperation on security issues and the economic field.

Daudzai said Kabul will seek “Pakistan’s practical steps” to push the Afghan peace process and to facilitate talks between the Taliban and the Afghan High Peace Council.

Karzai was furious when the Taliban opened a liaison office in Qatar in June, billed as a precursor to talks with US officials but perceived as a self-styled embassy for a government in waiting.

Karzai insists that his government should take a central role in any peace talks, but the Taliban refuse to open contact with him or his appointed negotiators, dismissing him as a US puppet.

“The first item with Pakistan will be the peace negotiations,” Karzai told a news conference in Kabul on Saturday.

He praised Nawaz for having “all the right intentions for stability and peace”, but conceded that previous visits had not achieved the goal of improving security in Afghanistan.

Karzai believes Taliban safe havens in the country are the main cause of increased violence in his country.

“I will travel to Pakistan hoping to get a result out of it. I’m hopeful, but not sure, I will only go with hopes, and wish they materialise,” he told reporters.

Afghan government peace negotiators, who will accompany Karzai, have called for the release of the most senior Taliban figure detained in Pakistan, former deputy leader Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Afghan officials believe the releases can encourage former detainees to talk to the Kabul government, although observers say there is little evidence those hopes have been realised. Several prisoners are also understood to have returned to the battlefield.

Analysts say Pakistan can facilitate Taliban peace talks and help with logistics, but does not have the power to force the insurgents to the negotiating table against their will.

“Peace and stability in Afghanistan are in Pakistan’s vital interest,” the foreign ministry said Sunday.

“President Karzai’s visit will impart a strong impetus to ongoing efforts for an enhanced relationship… and enable the leadership on both sides to further strengthen their joint endeavours in the pursuit of durable peace, stability and prosperity.”

Officials have, however, been tight-lipped about the prospect of further prisoner releases.

And analysts warn against expecting too much from the visit.

After the botched office opening in Doha, think-tank the Afghan Analysts Network says Kabul is turning back to Pakistan to get access to the Taliban leadership.

“It wants its own channel to the insurgents, independent from the US,” wrote analyst Borhan Osman.

“Attempts to go through Pakistan are not new. Most similar moves have been unsuccessful in the end, though,” he added.

Relations had appeared to improve at a summit between Karzai and President Asif Ali Zardari hosted by Britain in February, but have since frayed badly in a series of public rows.

Last month, Karzai’s chief of staff Karim Khorram claimed the Taliban office in Doha was part of a plot to break up Afghanistan, orchestrated by either Pakistan or the United States.

Afghan General Sher Mohammad Karimi also alleged in July that Pakistan could end the Afghan war “in weeks” if it were serious about peace.

On August 20th, Afghanistan beat Pakistan 3-0 in the first international football match in Kabul for 10 years in an event promoted as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (40)

  • LoGari1
    Aug 26, 2013 - 10:55AM

    To Tribune!
    Did you put that picture for purpose????
    Well if you did it then we (Afghans) wont appreciate it and for your information there are lots of similar pictures of pakistani politicians which we can publish in our news paper and websites – so please be respectful and respect the standards of journalism!

    Thank you

    Recommend

  • Asif Butt
    Aug 26, 2013 - 11:06AM

    He is the political version of Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde

    Just wait and see what statement he immediately gives against Pakistan as soon as he returns home.

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Aug 26, 2013 - 12:17PM

    @LoGari1: what do u mean ? whats the problem with this photo ???

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Aug 26, 2013 - 12:21PM

    Welcome Mr Karzai. I wish good things happen for two nations.

    Recommend

  • Aug 26, 2013 - 12:32PM

    Hello Naeem Khan

    as you know Afghanistan and Pakistan is tow Muslim Counters, this is Pakistan state wrong police now Afghanistan have a very good and friendly relationship with India, if Pakistan not change their foreigner policy this relationship will be strong day by day, as you mention India have Consulate in Kandahar and Jalalabad Provinces, this is not belong with Pakistan if Afghanistan give place for Indian Council anywhere in Afghanistan, this Consulate is not for greeting problems bout this is for problem slowing this is the need of Afghan Citizen the need for India VISA and the people of Kandahar or Jalalabad not want to go for VISA to Kabul, this is a facility for Kandahar and Jalalabad people, they do bossiness with India, or they go for Treatment, as you know this is a Golden Chance for Pakistan to stop to desist there wrong police in Afghanistan, or not Pakistan well be divided to three parts, in next two years

    Thanks

    Recommend

  • Supersequel
    Aug 26, 2013 - 12:43PM

    @Afghan, you should worry more about Afghanistan being divided once NATO leaves. Pakistan isn’t going anywhere.

    Recommend

  • Pak
    Aug 26, 2013 - 12:51PM

    @Afghan: Awesome English Bro !!! keep it up ….. lolz

    Recommend

  • Common man
    Aug 26, 2013 - 12:53PM

    Peace in Afghanistan is possible only when Afghanistan concede to the demands of pakistan, which is obvious, stay away from india. If Afghan allow india to influence its policies towards pakistan than rest assure that afghanistan will remain burning so is pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Ali Awan
    Aug 26, 2013 - 2:18PM

    @Afgahn: Dude I am not at al laughing on your english as you have atleast tried but I am laughing at your naive perceptions… you want Pakistan to listen to every demand that afghanistan puts forth otherwise you will let you new step dady india to use your land against Pakistan….dude I tell you what, afghanistan has allowed India to use its land against Pakistan from long time and now you see what Pakistan will do to your afghanistan once ur other daddies (US and nato) leaves afghanistanRecommend

  • athi
    Aug 26, 2013 - 3:00PM

    @Afghan:
    as long as there are people like you who can’t even write proper English, I doubt that afghanistan will ever prosper. :)

    Recommend

  • Asif
    Aug 26, 2013 - 3:15PM

    Ali Awan : Naive? I say he is sincere. Anyways Afghanistan of the 1990s and the Afghanistan of today is completely different. There are millions of afghan who to go schools and universities, they have access to the social media, over 80 television stations, this has all changed the mindset of the Afghan people, so I say you are actually naive to think 1) Afghans dont understand their interests 2) that US and NATO is leaving the region.

    I think it is time that Pakistani establishment wakes up to the new realities on the ground, you cant bully Afghans to your demands, yes we are willing to listen to ur legitimate demands but other than that its a pipe dream. I just ask you to pause for a second think that which neighbour has no complains against Pakistan, even the so called all weather friend China complains of chinese militants being trained in Pakistan.

    While Im writing this, let me remind you that if you call US and NATO the patrons of Afghans, so be it!

    Recommend

  • Zuhair
    Aug 26, 2013 - 3:33PM

    @Afghan
    You should start being thankful for keeping your refugees before thinking anything of anyone’s disintegration.

    Recommend

  • G. Din
    Aug 26, 2013 - 3:49PM

    @athi:
    “@Afghan:
    as long as there are people like you who can’t even write proper English, I doubt that afghanistan will ever prosper. :)”

    How many people in China and Japan can write “proper English”? Very, very few. That has not stopped them.
    @Pak:
    “@Afghan: Awesome English Bro !”
    It does not matter. We understand him fine! That is what counts.

    Recommend

  • Asif
    Aug 26, 2013 - 3:50PM

    @athi : Since when was an eloquent knowledge of English a fundamental requirement for Afghan prosperity? You guys in Pakistan speak pretty well but still your economy is in shambles! Besides most of the BRIC countries with the exception India has prospered not because they speak English well but they have done other things right.

    Capish ?

    Recommend

  • Water Bottle
    Aug 26, 2013 - 4:19PM

    @Afghan

    You are trying too hard. I can always spot an Indian trying too hard to be a Pakistani or an Afghan or a Kashmiri or a Bangladeshi, like in your case : Afghan.

    First of all, India has nothing to be apologetic to pretend to be someone else to approve our own policies. You can pose as an Indian and make the point.

    Recommend

  • bilal
    Aug 26, 2013 - 4:25PM

    @Afghan:
    I agree with him. the police in KPK is so corrupt that they specially target the poor afghan family and bribe them heavily. it has to be stopped for better relationship between two countries. once

    Recommend

  • Pashto Times
    Aug 26, 2013 - 4:29PM

    Good to see its happening

    Recommend

  • ModiFied
    Aug 26, 2013 - 4:42PM

    Comments from Pakistanis show how ignorant most of them are of ground reality in Afghanistan. Rest assured, even a Taliban government in Kabul will not surrender Afghan interests to Pakistan and won’t be anti-India or anti-US as most Pakistanis might be dreaming. New nationalism has percolated deep down in Afghanistan. Post 2014, Pakistanis will be the most disappointed lot.

    Recommend

  • Khattak
    Aug 26, 2013 - 4:51PM

    Afghans & India are facing a common enemey. Recent events shows that the Indian tone is changing. Togather they can be an existential threat for Pakistan. We shall take Karzai seriously & be done with the Taliban business. No country in the world has respect for terror sponsering business.

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Aug 26, 2013 - 4:57PM

    We will station more than 1 million Indian troops in Afghanistan, if Pakistan keeps up their hostile behavior.

    Recommend

  • Citizen Kane
    Aug 26, 2013 - 4:58PM

    @Zuhair

    Pakistan had invited and given refuge to terrorists such as Hekmatyar and Massoud as far back as 1973-4 to interfere in Afghanistan by carrying out terrorists attack there. It was because of these policies that Afghanistan was destabilized and the Soviet Union had to intervene in 1979. Pakistan brought the refugees onto itself.

    Secondly, Pakistan has earned BILLIONS OF DOLLARS because of the Afghan war and the Afghan refugees. So instead of Afghans being thankful to you, you should be thankful to the Afghans, because of whom your country has earned so much money. Even today, every penny spent on the Afghans comes from the UNHCR and other international organizations.

    Recommend

  • aqib
    Aug 26, 2013 - 5:08PM

    I bet that Mr.Sharif did not ask for Fazlulah (Mullah radio),who is being refuge by the Afghans.

    Recommend

  • Aug 26, 2013 - 5:58PM

    The truth is that we cannot have a peaceful region without a peaceful Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, we cannot over emphasize the importance of shared cooperation between the regional partners. It is great to see the leaders from both nations meeting to address their shared concerns. It is imperative for both nations to communicate and coordinate for the sake of restoring peace in the region. The terrorists would love to see Afghanistan and Pakistan remain tangled in their differences. The terrorists didn’t even stop during the Eid-ul-Fitr Celebrations and continued their terrorist activities on both sides of the border. The U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan have all felt the impact of terrorism. It only makes sense for our nations to create a healthy partnership and combine our strength against those who pose a threat to the safety of our nations.

    Ali Khan
    DET, United States Central Command

    Recommend

  • Khan-From-Peshawer
    Aug 26, 2013 - 6:34PM

    @Water Bottle: Spot on man, for sure he is an Indian !!!

    Recommend

  • Rabbani
    Aug 26, 2013 - 7:03PM

    Just forget about Afghanistan or Pakistan, improve your English first.

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Aug 26, 2013 - 7:51PM

    A good start… all the haters should leave them be and at least try…

    Recommend

  • waseem
    Aug 26, 2013 - 7:51PM

    @Citizen Kane:
    we had enough earning.
    Can you please kindly take them back?
    if they want to return at all?

    Recommend

  • waseem
    Aug 26, 2013 - 7:56PM

    @Observer:
    hahah
    good luck with that.
    one thing for sure, this is not easy to get along with Afghans.
    they take every favor for granted and as a right, and that too which is always underpaied.
    So never stop asking for more.
    But at least with that India can reduce some of their heavy populaiton density to barren lands, neo colonialism

    Recommend

  • Water Bottle
    Aug 26, 2013 - 9:59PM

    @Khan-From-Peshawer:

    “Spot on man, for sure he is an Indian !!! “

    I am also spot on about the second point. India has nothing to be apolegetic about Afghanistan. We are there for the betterment of Afghans. And not for harming Pakistan as most delusional Pakistanis believe.

    We don’t have 48 embassies in Afghanistan. We have just as many as Pakistan does.

    We don’t interfere in the politics of Afghanistan. Unlike Pakistan which wants a master-slave relationship with Afghanistan.

    Now, you tell me Khan-from-Peshawar, that I am spot on!!!!

    Recommend

  • Sexton Blake
    Aug 26, 2013 - 10:40PM

    @US Centcom:
    Dear Ali Khan.
    Silly me. I thought it was Centcom who attacked Afghanistan, followed by Iraq, Libya, Syria, and several African countries?. I am not certain about the number of dead and damaged people, because you do not release statistics. Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Aug 26, 2013 - 11:12PM

    @ModiFied:
    Your comment:
    “Comments from Pakistanis show how ignorant most of them are of ground reality in Afghanistan. Rest assured, even a Taliban government in Kabul will not surrender Afghan interests to Pakistan and won’t be anti-India or anti-US as most Pakistanis might be dreaming. New nationalism has percolated deep down in Afghanistan. Post 2014, Pakistanis will be the most disappointed lot.”

    This is most of what I wanted to say also. Somehow for some strange reasons, many in Pakistan think that if talibans take over Pakistan, India will be next on their list and Afghanistan will be totally talibanized. Hamid Gul says this often, Sheikh Rasheed never tires of repeating this and many Pakistani Channel TV anchors say this all the time. What exactly are they saying or implying? They are basically asserting repeatedly that the muslim community everywhere, and more particularly in India, will support and espouse the terrorists if given a chance and provided external support. They have no mental ability to think that the muslim community of India will probably the first in line to resist and fight any such attempts by the talibans.

    Recommend

  • Zuhair
    Aug 26, 2013 - 11:12PM

    @Citizen Kane:
    1/4 of Afghanistan was in the NWFP province. If you think they’re all terrorists, then i’m afraid you both are bound for a dysfunctional relationship.

    Recommend

  • Aug 26, 2013 - 11:17PM

    Warm welcome to the Afghan President, hope will have some good results.

    Recommend

  • Ivehadit
    Aug 27, 2013 - 12:57AM

    Trade. What trade. What does Afghanistan export?

    Recommend

  • Sexton Blake
    Aug 27, 2013 - 10:44AM

    @Ivehadit:
    Have you ever heard of heroin.

    Recommend

  • Afghan Maihan
    Aug 27, 2013 - 11:07AM

    @Ivehadit

    Afghanistan exports regular and dry fruits, fruit juices, Afghan rugs, cotton, natural gas and soon it will start exporting oil and other raw materials as well. Stop hating and start appreciating.

    Recommend

  • Sexton Blake
    Aug 27, 2013 - 7:25PM

    @Afghan Maihan:
    Dear Afghan,
    Good one. Thank you for the info. `Sometimes we get too cynical.

    Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Aug 28, 2013 - 12:50AM

    @Ivehadit and Sexton Blake

    Afghanistan also exports Lapis Lazuli and other precious and semi-precious stones, karakol and animal furs. Afghanistan used to be the largest exporter of raisins before the war. A small scale industrial boom is taking place throughout Afghanistan and it won’t be long before scale production becomes the norm.

    Recommend

  • Afghan
    Aug 28, 2013 - 2:19PM

    Hello Friends

    thanks for your comments,

    as you know how many people peal reaction about my column, as I mention if Pakistan not bring changes in their foreign police, it will be divided, some people writ improve your English some add he is Indian, and etc.
    I think this is a bitter reality for those Pakistani people and Government officials who have interest in Afghanistan war, they have more income through this way, Pakistan send terrorist to Afghanistan and they give accumulate places for terrorist in Pakistan and Pakistan Government give rent for the houses where terrorists living and thy send them for war to Afghanistan, and give name of JAHAD, we know the mining of JAHAD Pakistan send those how for JAHAD the cant do pray as a proper way how they will do JAHAD.
    I am a Muslim I didn’t have any personal interest with India or any other country. but this is Right of Afghan Government and People to have good and friendly relationship with any county.
    approximating we observe the current security and Economic situation of Pakistan is very regretting ,
    this is relay a Golden Chance for Pakistan to do work for a stabile Afghanistan, and change their wrong foreign police,
    this is time for Afghanistan and Pakistan Governments till do work for peace in both countries, through dialog , and information sharing.

    Thanks so much
    Afghan

    Recommend

  • Afghan
    Aug 28, 2013 - 4:29PM

    Hello Friends

    thanks for your comments,

    as you know how many people peal reaction about my column, as I mention if Pakistan not bring changes in their foreign police, it will be divided, some people writ improve your English some add he is Indian, and etc.
    I think this is a bitter reality for those Pakistani people and Government officials who have interest in Afghanistan war, they have more income through this way, Pakistan send terrorist to Afghanistan and they give accumulate places for terrorist in Pakistan and Pakistan Government give rent for the houses where terrorists living and thy send them for war to Afghanistan, and give name of JAHAD, we know the mining of JAHAD Pakistan send those how for JAHAD the cant do pray as a proper way how they will do JAHAD.
    I am a Muslim I didn’t have any personal interest with India or any other country. but this is Right of Afghan Government and People to have good and friendly relationship with any county.
    approximating we observe the current security and Economic situation of Pakistan is very regretting ,
    this is relay a Golden Chance for Pakistan to do work for a stabile Afghanistan, and change their wrong foreign police,
    this is time for Afghanistan and Pakistan Governments till do work for peace in both countries, through dialog , and information sharing.

    Thanks so much

    Afghan Recommend

More in Pakistan