News / Asia

Afghan, Pakistani Leaders Seek Path to Peace

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, shakes hand with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani prior to their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday, June 11, 2011
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, shakes hand with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani prior to their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday, June 11, 2011

The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, wrapped up a two-day visit to Islamabad Saturday following talks on security issues, bilateral and regional relations and the question of how to end the almost 10-year-old war in his country. 

The Afghan delegation headed by Hamid Karzai met with the Pakistani leadership over two days and in the end announced a number of new measures aimed at improving security and ending the war which is deeply affecting both nations.

In a joint statement, it was announced that a Joint Commission for Reconciliation and Peace in Afghanistan is to be created.  The commission will look at ways to negotiate with some members of the Afghan Taliban to bring them to the table instead of continuing the armed struggle.

In a news conference at the end of the trip, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said his nation wants peace in Afghanistan and will do what it can to seek it.

"We both want stability in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, both," he said.  "Our only aim is to support the peace process, which is Afghan-led, and it is [an] Aghan process for reconciliation.  It is in the interest of Pakistan for a stable, peaceful, prosperous, independent, sovereign Afghanistan."

The delegation from Afghanistan and the Pakistani authorities also discussed such bilateral issues as trade, the effort to control the narcotics trade and coordinating their forces to stop border crossing by militants.

Cross-border traffic has been an issue for years, but recently Pakistan said Afghanistan is being used for a staging area for attacks into Pakistan. Previously it had predominantly been NATO and U.S. critics who accused Pakistan of allowing its territory to be used against international forces fighting in Afghanistan.

Speaking about the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops and the handover to Afghan authorities, President Karzai said there is a plan, but specifics are still being worked out, so timing of the withdrawal could depend on the situation on the ground.

"On the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, we have a transition planned that will be completed by 2014, whereby the Afghan forces will take full responsibility for the protection of the Afghan people and territory," he said. "Whether there will be some U.S. troops continuing to stay after 2014 depends on the strategic declaration between the two countries or the strategic document that we are discussing.  A delegation will come from the United States to discuss this and that will determine the nature of U.S. presence in Afghanistan."

Many analysts expect the Taliban to demand withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO troops before they come to the negotiating table.

Zafer Hilali is a former Pakistani ambassador to Kabul who says unless the U.S. starts a meaningful withdrawal or gives assurances that such a pullout will happen, any peace talks or negotiations that any commission may be able to attempt will be fruitless.

"Well, first of all, we don’t know if the U.S. is going to withdrawal its troops in any meaningful sense," he said. "I mean, their talk of numbers of 5,000 and 7,000 [troops leaving Afghanistan], this is just a small step.  The fact of the matter is that the stated positions of the Taliban and the United States are at the moment very different.  And frankly they seem irreconcilable unless this is clarified, unless some kind of an assurance is given to the other side that ‘Look, we will withdraw; let us talk meanwhile,’ and the other side is convinced of the sincerity of that.  I don’t think that even peace talks will begin [then] except informal contact."

Pakistan and Afghan officials say they will continue to talk, and plan for their next series of meetings, to be held in Kabul as soon as possible.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid