Afghan peace talks will fail without us, warns Pakistan PM

By AFP
Published: October 12, 2010
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) shakes hands with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in Islamabad on September 16, 2010. PHOTO: AFP

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) shakes hands with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in Islamabad on September 16, 2010. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Tuesday that renewed Afghan efforts to make peace with the Taliban and end the nine-year war would fail without Pakistan’s help.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said this week he had renewed overtures to the insurgents, confirming in a US television interview that his government had been holding talks with the Taliban “for quite some time”.

But Gilani told reporters in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Charsadda that Pakistan had an essential role to play if there was to be any prospect of peace.

“Nothing will happen without us, because we are a part of the solution, we are not a part of the problem,” Gilani said.

On Sunday, former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani was elected chairman of a new peace council set up to broker an end to the war with the Taliban.

Backed by Karzai, the High Peace Council intends to open a dialogue with insurgents who have been trying to bring down his government since the US-led invasion overthrew their regime in late 2001.

Gilani refused to be drawn on whether Pakistan backed the plan.

“When Karzai shares his roadmap with America and they share the roadmap with us, then we will be in a position to comment on it.”

Last week the Washington Post said secret talks were believed to involve the Afghan government and representatives authorised by the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban group based in Pakistan, and Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

The Taliban, which have been fighting an increasingly violent insurgency, have said publicly they will not enter into dialogue with the government until all 152,000 foreign troops based in the country leave.

Pakistan was the chief supporter of the Taliban regime, which imposed a harsh brand of Islam on Afghanistan from 1996 until its ouster in a US-led military operation after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Afghan and Western officials have long suspected that elements of the Pakistani establishment, notably the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, offer support to Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan has always rejected the accusations, saying it is committed to fighting the Taliban and is actively targetting militants.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • SKChadha
    Oct 14, 2010 - 8:02AM

    In August, 2010 news filtered through Pak Establishment that India approached Mullah Baradar of the Afghan Taliban. The period of meeting was reported to be before February, 2010 when ISI arrested him in Karachi. Few of Taliban leaders Abdul Hayee Mutamin, Wakeel Mutawakil and Abdul Salam Zaeef Mutawakil who played a key role in the aftermath of the Kandahar hijack of Indian Airlines flight is reportedly met Indian officials in Middle East in the recent past. This news was interpreted as peace broking by India in Afghanistan. As it involves India, this is not acceptable in Pakistan. Probably this is the precise reason for which Mullah Baradar was arrested as it stalled the Indian peace move on one hand and had as also please US. It is understood that Mullah Baradar is comforting in Pak Establishment. Refer: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/world/asia/23taliban.html?_r=1

    It is becoming clear that peace in Afghanistan requires tackling Pakistan’s strategic assets. Pak interference in Afghanistan is probably with motive of having influenced in Afghanistan after departure of US rather than Pak supporting collision forces. Hence, the Taliban factions who desire peace directly with Afghanistan are becoming enemy of Pakistan. This is also one of the reasons which is making Karzai uneasy about Pakistan.

    The protection of Haqqani group inside Pak territory and drone attack by UN & NATO on these targets both support this theory. It may also resulting in conflict between Taliban and Pakistan in which innocent people are losing their lives on daily basis.

    As this game plan is becoming clear in Media, it is making West more uneasy about Pak. The World sees this move by Pak as sheltering the Taliban and terrorist, whereas probably for them this is their strategic move. However, in either way it is confusing and harming the Pak citizenry both ways one by Taliban terrorism and two by increasing Drone Attacks. The statement emanating from Mr. Gilani may be a strategic move to maintain Pak’s role in Afghanistan.

    It is upon Pak Media to investigate the issue and make gullible citizenry to understand the real game plan. Refer: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/talibans-high-command-in-secret-talks-to-end-war-in-afghanistan-2099916.html.Recommend

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