Afghan neighbours try to tackle issues together

Last Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 18:43

Kabul: Afghanistan`s neighbours and regional heavyweights met in Kabul on Thursday to do something they rarely do - try to tackle common threats and problems together.

With NATO`s combat mission ending in 2014, the region`s countries are being called on to help stabilise Afghanistan by joining forces to resolve regional problems such as extremism, drug-trafficking, poor coordination on economic issues and, most importantly, terrorism.

Any cooperation, however, is bound to share the stage with longtime neighborhood rivalries, the ongoing war in Afghanistan and a fragile effort to reach a peace accord with the Taliban.

In opening the one-day conference, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the head of the government-appointed peace council will travel soon to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to seek the two nation`s continued help in talking peace with the Taliban in hopes of ending decades of war.

Karzai said that successful peace discussions with the Taliban are one of the most important elements in attaining harmony in the region. The Afghan leader, who has pushed neighboring Pakistan to do more to help further the peace process, thanked Saudi Arabia for the help it has given in trying to find a political resolution to the war.

"We also very much hope that our brothers and sisters in Pakistan will do same," Karzai said.

Kabul: Afghanistan`s neighbours and regional heavyweights met in Kabul on Thursday to do something they rarely do - try to tackle common threats and problems together.

With NATO`s combat mission ending in 2014, the region`s countries are being called on to help stabilise Afghanistan by joining forces to resolve regional problems such as extremism, drug-trafficking, poor coordination on economic issues and, most importantly, terrorism.

Any cooperation, however, is bound to share the stage with longtime neighborhood rivalries, the ongoing war in Afghanistan and a fragile effort to reach a peace accord with the Taliban.

In opening the one-day conference, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the head of the government-appointed peace council will travel soon to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to seek the two nation`s continued help in talking peace with the Taliban in hopes of ending decades of war.

Karzai said that successful peace discussions with the Taliban are one of the most important elements in attaining harmony in the region. The Afghan leader, who has pushed neighboring Pakistan to do more to help further the peace process, thanked Saudi Arabia for the help it has given in trying to find a political resolution to the war.

"We also very much hope that our brothers and sisters in Pakistan will do same," Karzai said.

Pakistan has been accused of providing militants sanctuary on its soil and aiding insurgents who attack Afghan and foreign forces in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been pushing Islamabad to help lure Taliban leaders, who are believed to be holed up or under arrest in Pakistan, to the negotiating table.

Pakistan has been under pressure from the United States too. US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said in a recent visit to Kabul that the US was losing patience with Pakistan and wants it to do more to go after the Taliban, especially the al-Qaida affiliated Haqqani network.

"While there are formidable challenges ahead, we must not be consumed by negativity," she said.

Khar said Pakistan was committed to fighting for peace. "This is a matter of Pakistan`s core national interest," she said. "We in Pakistan know that we cannot grow, that we cannot progress and we cannot live peacefully if our neighbors, particularly and especially our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, are not growing, are not progressing and are not living peacefully."

PTI



First Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 13:23

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