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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid