News / Asia

Turkey Hosts Trust-Building Talks Between Afghanistan, Pakistan

President of Turkey Abdullah Gul, left, and his counterparts Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, center, and Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan arrive for  a Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan summit in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Dec. 24, 2010.
President of Turkey Abdullah Gul, left, and his counterparts Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, center, and Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan arrive for a Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan summit in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Dec. 24, 2010.
Dorian Jones

Turkey hosted its 5th meeting between heads of state of Afghanistan and Pakistan in Istanbul in an effort to improve relations between the two countries.

There was applause as the presidents of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan signed a series of agreements to improve cooperation on a variety of issues from security to aid relief.

The agreements are all part of Turkish led efforts to build up trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which observers say is crucial to ending the Taliban insurgency.

But a a new role for Turkey may be emerging in ending the conflict. A senior Taliban member, in an interview this week in the  BritishDaily Telegraph  newspaper,  said the group wants to open a base in a neutral country for  meaningful peace talks.  One of the countries  mentioned was Turkey.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, at a press conference after meeting with his Turkish and Pakistan counterparts, said he was open to Turkey hosting the talks. "It has been discussed with me previously by gentlemen, dignitaries close to the Taliban movement . The idea of Turkey serving as place where gatherings take place, where a presentation can be established in order to facilitate a reconciliation and integration, has been  discussed. If Turkey can be kind to provide for such a venue we the government of Afghanistan will  be pleased and happy to see that facilitation take place by Turkey," he said.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul was taken by surprise by the request, but pledged that Turkey would help in any way. "I am not aware of the Taliban interview , he said, but I would say some general words. We attach great importance to stability, to security of Afghanistan and what ever will serve for the future reconstruction of Afghanistan we will be there," he said.

At Friday's meeting, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to hold joint military exercises as part of efforts to build trust between Kabul and Islamabad.

Observers say deep suspicions remain between the two countries,  particularly over accusations that Pakistan's intelligence forces, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI,  are supporting the Taliban - a charge Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari strongly denied at the press conference. "Let me assure you that ISI is not involved in the Taliban, especially as I , the husband of Benazir Bhutto and a victim of terrorism would not allow such an operation or such a support," he said.

Mr. Zardari's wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was assasinated  in a suicide attack in the city of Rawalpindi in December 2007.

Despite tensions, Turkish diplomats are keen to point out when they started their trilateral meetings the then leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan would not even talk to one another,  On Thursday night the Afghan and Pakistan presidents dined together.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid