News / Asia

    Pakistan Envoy Seeks to Ease Tensions with Afghanistan

    Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on foreign affairs, speaks during a news conference in Kabul Jul. 21, 2013.
    Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on foreign affairs, speaks during a news conference in Kabul Jul. 21, 2013.
    Ayaz Gul
    Pakistan has pledged to support Afghan peace efforts using “some influence and contacts” it has with Taliban rebels. But during his day-long visit to Kabul on Sunday, Islamabad’s new foreign policy chief denied allegations Pakistan is seeking Afghanistan’s breakup or a power-sharing role for the Taliban after international forces leave the war-ravaged country.

    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s adviser on national security and foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, traveled to Kabul in a bid to ease bilateral tensions and renew efforts to start peace talks between Afghan and Taliban representatives.

    Aziz spoke to reporters after meeting Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul.

    “I have brought here a message of cordiality and goodwill from Pakistan. The new government under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is deeply committed to strengthening Pakistan’s fraternal ties with the Afghan people. The main purpose of my visit is to convey a formal invitation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to President Karzai to visit Pakistan," he said.

    The senior Pakistani advisor's visit came just days after the Taliban closed its newly opened political office in the Gulf state of Qatar following objections from Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. They established the facility as part of a U.S. plan to engage the Taliban in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process before most American and NATO forces leave the country by the end of next year.

    President Karzai accused the United States and neighboring Pakistan of allowing the Taliban to set up a government-in-exile and refused to send his peace negotiators to Qatar.

    The strong reaction grounded the talks before they could even begin. Afghan officials also alleged that the Taliban office was part of a plot by either the United States or Pakistan to break up Afghanistan on ethnic lines.

    Washington rejected the allegations as “nonsense.”  Pakistani diplomat Aziz, during his visit to Kabul, also denied Islamabad was trying to impose its own solution to end the Afghan war.

    “There is no point in our discussing one system and another because it is not for us - it is for Afghans themselves to decide what system and what kind of post-2014 arrangements they would like to have.  So, there is no question of our making any proposals or suggestions in that regard," he said.

    Pakistan helped the Taliban to take power in Afghanistan before the U.S.-led invasion ended their five-year rule in 2001. Afghan leaders suspect the Pakistani spy agency remains in contact with the Taliban insurgency in a bid to influence the peace efforts and promote the Islamist movement.

    Aziz said that Pakistan facilitated travel of Taliban representatives to the Qatari capital of Doha at the request of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, which is tasked to promote the political reconciliation. At the council’s request, he said, Pakistan also released 26 Taliban detainees toward the end of last year and is willing to take such steps in future if asked.

    “Obviously, we have some contacts with the Taliban because of the past but we don’t control them. So in future also if to the extent we are requested we can play the same role but at the appropriate time and in consultation with the other interested parties," he said.

    Sartaj Aziz however, emphasized that it is for Afghans themselves to make the peace process successful.  Aziz said he hoped that President Karzai’s proposed visit to Islamabad will further help ease tensions and deepen political, economic as well as trade cooperation between the two neighboring countries.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Dr. Malek Towghi from: USA
    July 22, 2013 12:34 AM
    Our Cold War policies concerning the region have made the emergence of an ISI cum Taliban - ruled and China-mastered Greater Pakistan that will include the southern 60 % of Afghanistan inevitable. Only a sincerely coordinated plan of joint action by the US, India and Russia could be the remedy. Faster, Please, ... before it is too late.

    by: Wilf Tarkin
    July 21, 2013 8:01 PM
    Why would the Afghan government think that Pakistan is hostile to them, just because Pakistan is conducting a covert war against Afghanistan, and the Haqqani network, the outfit carrying out the most brazen attacks in Afghanistan, is run by the Pakistani secret service?
    And why would they think the US and Pakistan are plotting to divide Afghanistan just because the US is desperate and would agree to any terms to secure any sort of peace, and Pakistan still wants its "strategic depth", ie a hinterland held by islamic fundamentalists to keep India off Pakistans backside?

    I pity Kabul. I really do. Because I think that is what will happen: the US will twist Kabul's arm to cede strategic regions of eastern Afghanistan to the Taliban (and by extension Pakistan), in return for "peace".

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora