• Friday, October 20, 2017

Backdoor diplomacy brings Pakistan, Afghanistan closer

Discussion in 'Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by NOWorNEVER, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. NOWorNEVER

    NOWorNEVER FULL MEMBER

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    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agrees to visit Islamabad following Pakistani army chief’s visit to Kabul last week

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    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai arrives at Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on November 14, 2014.
    By Amir Latif and Shadi Khan Saif

    KARACHI, Pakistan/ KABUL, Afghanistan

    A month-long silent diplomacy aimed at stemming escalating tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan has yielded some encouraging developments in recent weeks, according to experts in the regions.

    In a significant development, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has agreed to visit Islamabad, following Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa’s first-ever visit to Kabul last week.

    Ghani had refused multiple invitations to visit Islamabad in the recent past.

    “This is the breakthrough people of the two countries have been waiting for. The two sides have finally understood that only mutual cooperation can defeat the specter of terrorism from their respective soils,” Saleem Safi, an Islamabad-based expert on Afghan affairs told Anadolu Agency.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan have had rocky relations since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2002 with both sides accusing each other of using militants against each other.

    In the last one year, a series of terrorist attacks in both countries, for which the two sides blame each other, has put further strain on the already tense relations between the two sides.

    Pakistan also objects to growing role of its arch rival India in Afghanistan.

    Talks with Taliban

    A senior foreign ministry official told Anadolu Agency that Pakistan had also assured the Afghan leadership that it would initiate fresh efforts to bring the Afghan Taliban back to the negotiating table.

    “We have conveyed this assurance to Afghan leadership and have also made it clear that Pakistan does not enjoy the kind of [good] relations with the [Afghan] Taliban, as it did a few years ago. There is lack of trust on both sides,” the official said, asking not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

    Pakistan had brokered the first round of direct talks between the fragile Afghan government and Taliban in Islamabad in July 2015. The process broke down when Taliban announced the death of their long-term leader Mullah Omer triggering a bitter power struggle within the group.

    Chances for resumption of the stalled process dimmed further after Mullah Omer’s successor, Mullah Mansur, was killed in a U.S. drone strike last year in Pakistan, near the Afghan border.

    Since then, several attempts have been made, with little success, to resume the stalled peace process by a four-nation group comprising of Pakistan, Afghanistan, the U.S. and China.

    Taliban have opened new battle fronts across the war-torn Afghan nation in recent months as security forces -- suffering casualties and desertions -- struggle to beat back a revitalized insurgency.

    The latest developments are outcome of a backdoor diplomacy-- backed by some confidence building measures -- involving senior diplomats and military officials from both sides.

    Trump's policy in Afghanistan

    The tone for the current results was set by a meeting between Pakistan’s former Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz and Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar in London this March, which was followed by a series of meetings between the civilian and military officials, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria told Anadolu Agency.

    Later, he added, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ghani met on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan capital Astana this June, and agreed to ramp up joint efforts against terrorism.

    “Since then diplomatic, military and intelligence officials of the two countries remained in contact, and held several meetings to find ways of reducing tensions, and increasing cooperation against terrorism,” Zakaria added.

    Gen. Bajwa himself , according to Saleem Safi, had personally taken interest in the diplomatic exercise.

    “He [Gen. Bajwa] held a series of meetings with Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omer Zakhilwal who has played a silent but important role in the whole exercise,” Safi added.

    Some analysts, however, think that apart from other factors, U.S. President Donald Trump’s new policy for South Asia, has forced Pakistan to change its approach towards Afghanistan.

    In his policy announced this August, Trump accused Pakistan, of providing safe havens for terrorist organizations that have contributed to the ongoing tumult in Afghanistan. Islamabad has denied the charge.

    Ashiqullah Yaqub, a Kabul-based political commentator told Anadolu Agency: “The new U.S. policy for Afghanistan and South Asia has put added pressure on Pakistan to shun ties with the Taliban and the Haqqani network. Ghani is confident this is the right time to engage in political dialogue with Pakistan.”

    Ghani told the London-based Council on Foreign Affairs last month that state-to-state discussion with Pakistan is crucial. “So the inherited problems of the last 40 years can be addressed. Without peace between Afghanistan and Pakistan, political settlement in Afghanistan alone is not sufficient.”

    The lower and upper houses of the Afghan parliament have been deliberating upon the pros and cons of re-engagement with Pakistan with many lawmakers openly expressing mistrust towards Islamabad.

    http://aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/backdoor-diplomacy-brings-pakistan-afghanistan-closer/932071
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  2. Iqbal Ali

    Iqbal Ali SENIOR MEMBER

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    Well Pakistan has more in common with Afghanistan than with India.
     
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  3. mohammad45

    mohammad45 BANNED

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    Two Muslim countries can solve their problems through dialogue without presence of third party.

    PK can help the progress of peace in AFG and in return AFG satisfies PK's concerns.

    Appreciated
     
  4. Khan_patriot

    Khan_patriot SENIOR MEMBER

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    That's an extremely naive opinion and disregrads the intricacies of geopolitics, the ummah is dead has been for over half a century. Using Islam as a basis for foreign policy is akin to geopolitical suicide.
     
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  5. hussain0216

    hussain0216 ELITE MEMBER

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    If the Afghans understand they have to talk to the Taliban and that India's presence is intolerable then no reason why we cant move forward
     
  6. Fawad alam

    Fawad alam FULL MEMBER

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    The situation of Afghanistan is not simple and will not solve in near future, what ever we do to control the situation in Afghanistan or what ever we do to attract peace will not work until US foots are present in the region and this is the only reason behind US presence in area to make region unstable and non-peaceful for there future plans .
    This is the secret world order which is operating the US for there goals otherwise there is no reason to spend trillions of dollars in deserted land.
     
  7. Rafi

    Rafi ELITE MEMBER

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    "Back door" had a very dodgy idea for a second.
     
  8. hussain0216

    hussain0216 ELITE MEMBER

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    The Afghans are known historically for this kind of diplomacy
     
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  9. mohammad45

    mohammad45 BANNED

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    Sometimes being naive is good for making peace :D
     
  10. Samurai_assassin

    Samurai_assassin FULL MEMBER

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    What's the point? A day after the visit Mr Ghani will be back to his same old self by blaming Pakistan for all the misery in Afghanistan. The US has absolutely no intention to leave AFG. The country is an ideal place for them to have their presence. An eye on China, Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia. AFG a land used and abused by the US.