Sartaj in Kabul: Is Pakistan trying to woo back Afghanistan under US pressure?
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2015-09-06 08:19:31

Sartaj in Kabul: Is Pakistan trying to woo back Afghanistan under US pressure?

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Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz arrived in Kabul on Friday to push for a restart of Afghan peace negotiations, Pakistan Embassy said on Saturday. Afghan deputy national security adviser received Aziz on arrival at Kabul airport, the embassy spokesman, Akhtar Munir, said. Ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan had a setback after terrorist attacks in Kabul last month that took the lives of at least 50 people in one day. These led President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah to publicly accuse Pakistan of sheltering and arming the Haqqani Network for attacks in their country. Pakistan’s denials have failed to convince not only Kabul but also Washington. Last week, while meeting with Pakistan’s political and military leadership, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice spelt out the steps Washington expected Pakistan to take for dealing with the Haqqani Network. Soon afterwards Dr Peter Lavoy, Assistant to President Obama, met COAS Raheel Sharif at GHQ. As he was accompanied by the US ambassadors to Pakistan and Afghanistan, it was expected that Pak-Afghan relations were the main subject of talks. Afghanistan has blamed Pakistan for being the source of terrorism and the headquarters from where the Taliban are launching an offensive. Pakistan on the other hand has tried to acquiesce the irked Afghan administration since this backlash, but to no avail. In a new bid to normalize ties and end the hostility, Mr. Sartaj Aziz has travelled to Kabul himself to renew the peace process.

Sources in Kabul also claimed that the Pakistani adviser has asked Ashraf Ghani to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) according to which both intelligence agencies agreed to cooperate with each other in the fight against terrorism in bordering areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. A better cooperation between the two countries on both a diplomatic front and the militia is crucial to deal with the increasing threat of the reorganizing Taliban factions. Pakistan is making a gracious gesture by sharing classified evidence of how the country’s security forces have successfully dismantled the Haqqani network from its tribal areas and it is now Afghanistan’s responsibility to reciprocate the gesture in an appropriate manner. The continued resentment against Pakistan from the Afghan side is due to the perception that Pakistan’s historical obsession with ‘strategic depth” means it harbours certain groups of militants conducive to its foreign policy agenda, whilst simultaneously fighting other, hostile extremist groups. Sartaj Aziz and the Pakistan Foreign Office are correct in asserting that militancy and the war against militancy have long plagued both countries and a negotiated peace is the only plausible way out of the mess. The problems that originate in Afghanistan have a spillover impact in Pakistan due to porous borders and so it is in Pakistan’s own interest to ensure that the two countries come back to an understanding. It is high time that Afghanistan learns to differentiate between its friends and foes. If President Ghani is relying on its Indian ally to be the savior, where is India in protecting the Afghanis against the Taliban offensive? Pakistan on the other hand has been cooperative and understanding, as it realizes that dismantling the Taliban networks will require a certain degree of patience and dialogue. It has even offered to broker the peace process between the Ghani administration and the Afghan Taliban.

 

pk.shafaqna.com

 

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