No breakthrough in BSA impasse: Dobbins
KABUL (PAN): US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins on Thursday acknowledged he failed to achieve any breakthrough in his talks with President Hamid Karzai over his refusal to sign a key security deal with the US.
Dobbins, who arrived in Kabul late on Wednesday from Pakistan, told Pajhwok Afghan News he held talks with President Karzai and other Afghan officials after arriving in Kabul from Islamabad.
The Afghan peace and election process and the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) were the issues came under discussion in his talks with Afghan officials, the ambassador said.
In his talks with Afghan officials over the BSA, Dobbins said both sides had been insisting on the known positions.
“I told them why it is important for us that the deal should be signed as soon as possible,” he said of his talks with Afghan officials, including Karzai.
He said delaying the pact could put at stake the assistance to Afghan forces from nearly 40 coalition partners led by the US and economic pledges held out to Afghanistan by the international community.
Dobbins said the US could wait two to three weeks for the agreement to be signed and warned further delay could fragment the international coalition and even some aids could be withheld.
“I listened to President Karzai and he listened to my views, but we did not reach a conclusion and we just repeated what we have been listening over the past few weeks.”
About the peace process, Dobbins said there had been no contact between US and Taliban officials over the past one and a half year and Washington had been trying to encourage Taliban for talks with the High Peace Council (HPC).
He said the Taliban had not yet agreed to entering peace parleys with the HPC, but they were ready to support the peace body in this connection.
“First the Taliban have to show willingness for talks and in this regard, there has been no progress and we cannot promise when this going to happen,” Dobbins said in an apparent reference to Taliban resistance to peace talks with Afghan negotiators.
Dobbins claimed relations between President Karzai and Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif had recently improved to a great extent.
“Pakistan has been claiming it has no control over the Afghan Taliban, but has some influence over them. I should say it is possible that Pakistan cannot force Taliban into doing something against their will.”
He believed the influence Pakistan had over the Taliban could prove helpful in advancing the Afghan peace process.
About next year’s presidential and provincial council elections, the US special representative said elaborate security arrangements had been put in place for the April 5 elections and the voter registration drive had been satisfactory.
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