Karzai turns down Pak offer to train Afghan Army

Karzai virtually turns down Pak offer to train Afghan National Army while promising to keep Islamabad in loop about govt plans to engage the Taliban.

Islamabad: Afghan President Hamid Karzai
has virtually turned down Pakistan`s offer to train the Afghan
National Army while promising to keep Islamabad in the loop
about his government`s plans to engage the Taliban as part of
reconciliation and reintegration efforts.

During two interactions with the media here yesterday,
Karzai said the Afghan government had accepted some of
Pakistan`s offers for military cooperation, including the
supply of ammunition and equipment.

"As far as the training of Afghan soldiers and
officers is concerned, my Defence Minister will study (this
proposal) and we will come back on this," Karzai said during
an interaction with editors and senior journalists.

The News daily reported that Karzai`s comments
amounted to "not less than a `polite no`".

Diplomatic sources told that Karzai had been "less
than enthusiastic" about Pakistan`s offers to train the Afghan
army and police.

The issue has been raised with Karzai by President
Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Army
Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani during several recent meetings.

During his interaction with the editors, Karzai
pointed out that the training of the Afghan Army by the
Soviets in the past had lead to "trouble".

He added, "So we are careful."