Political analysts downplay Grossman's visit
KABUL (PAN): Some political analysts on Thursday said US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman's trip to the region would not yield the desired outcome because of Islamabad's refusal to receive him.
However, others insisted that Pakistan had little importance in terms of the ongoing peace negotiations, because the United States was in direct contact with the Taliban insurgents.
Grossman scrapped his plan to travel to Islamabad during his current swing through to the region, with Pakistan saying that the trip should come after an ongoing parliamentary review of ties with the US was completed.
"Grossman, the administration's top diplomat in charge of Afghan and Pakistan affairs, wanted to visit Islamabad, but Pakistani officials responded that it was not convenient," the Washington Post reported.
At the direction of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Grossman is currently on a nearly two-week visit to the region. The State Department said the envoy would travel to Ankara, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Kabul and Doha from January 15 to January 27.
Nasrullah Stanikzai, a Kabul University professor and political analyst, termed Grossman's visit an important one, because it comes at a time when peace talks were underway. "Pakistan has an important role to play in bringing peace in Afghanistan and the region at large.
"So it is clear the visit will remain incomplete. If Pakistan stays away from the process, no one will come to sit across the negotiating table with the Afghan government and the US. Most of Taliban leaders are in Pakistan," Stanikzai added.
Shehla Farid, a professor of political science at Kabul University, also believed Grossman's visit to the region could not succeed after he was snubbed by Pakistan. "Pakistan has always desired instability in Afghanistan. Now it wants to sabotage the peace plan by asking the US official not to travel to the country."
Grossman's visit to India would further fuel Pakistan's concerns, leaving a negative impact on the peace drive, the professor said.
Waheed Muzhda, a political analyst, also described the American diplomat's trip as important because not only Afghanistan, but several other regional countries were haunted by the scourge of terrorism.
"Pakistan's role is not important for the US now as the Americans are talking to the Taliban directly," he said, beveling Grossman's visit to India would convey a message to Pakistan that Washington might seek India's help.
However, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States was not trying to send any message to Pakistan through Grossman's trip to India. "We believe that India has a role to play in supporting a democratic, prosperous future for Afghanistan."
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