Kabul made no gains at summit, say analysts
KABUL (PAN): Although some political analysts on Saturday said Afghanistan was unable to take advantage of the trilateral summit on regional challenges in Pakistan, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai called the meeting fruitful.
Reconciliation talks with the Taliban, ending the decade-long war in Afghanistan and increased regional cooperation in diverse fields figured prominently at the meeting in Islamabad.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran -- pledging greater cooperation in diverse fields -- on Friday vowed to put up a joint front against the menace of terrorism and extremism in the region.
At a joint news conference after their third trilateral meeting in Islamabad, Presidents Karzai, Asif Zardari and Mahmound Ahmadinejad supported Afghan-led peace efforts with the Taliban.
Talking to Pajhwok Afghan News, political analyst Ahmad Wahid Muzhda said the purpose of Karzai’s visit to was muster Pakistan’s concrete support for the peace talks, but he gained nothing on that front.
“The meeting became useless when Pakistan was asked to hand over Mullah Omer to Afghan authorities and arrange talks between the Karzai government and the Haqqani network,” Muzhda remarked.
He accused the government of having no specific agenda for the summit, thus failing to gain anything important.
Karzai reportedly used an aggressive tone in asking Pakistan to produce senior Taliban leaders for peace talks with his administration. He got so angry that Gilani had to halt delegation-level talks between the two sides on Thursday.
An official privy to the meeting revealed Pakistani officials also angrily reacted to Karzai’s blunt demand that Islamabad bring senior Taliban leaders to the negotiation table.
However, a spokesman for the president, Aimal Faizi, said Karzai neither had testy exchanges with Pakistani officials over Taliban’s presence nor stormed out of a meeting with Prime Minister Gilani.
Dawn newspaper reported that Karzai was involved in a heated exchange with Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI Director General Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha over allegations of Taliban leaders’ presence in the country.
After Friday’s trilateral summit involving Pakistani, Afghan and Iranian presidents, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar confirmed the bilateral talks with the Afghan side did not proceed smoothly.
The talks were difficult, she acknowledged, calling the Afghan demand to produce Mullah Omar for talks as “unrealistic and ridiculous”.
On the other hand, Muzhda believed, talks between Pakistani and Iranian leadership had been a success. “Iran, facing financial curbs and military threats from the US and European Union, won Pakistan’s support for the proposed gas pipeline.”
At the same time, Pakistan and Afghanistan also pledged not to allow anyone to use their land against Iran, he added.
Ahmad Saeedi, another analyst, said the three countries had no clear definition of their common enemy. “Karzai says terrorism is on the other side of Durand Line; Iran blames the US for bringing terrorism to the region.
“Zardari says Afghanistan is exporting the scourge. As long as they have contradictory ideas, there is little hope of peace in the region,” Saeedi explained. On the promises held out in the joint declaration, Saeedi said there was no guarantee of their implementation.