Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: After having been accused by Afghanistan of pushing a power-sharing formula involving the Taliban, the Foreign Office on Monday defended Pakistan’s role in the war-torn country and said it always tried to make a positive contribution.

“Pakistan wants to see a peaceful, united, prosperous and stable Afghanistan. To that end Pakistan has been making constructive contributions,” FO spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry told Dawn.

During a meeting with Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Umer Daudzai on Friday Foreign Affairs and National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz had proposed a power-sharing formula involving the Taliban and other stakeholders in Afghanistan for ending the war there.

The proposal did not go down well with the Afghan government which was already critical of Pakistan’s involvement with the Taliban.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had during a press interaction over the weekend, after his talks with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron, lashed out at Pakistan for trying to divide Afghanistan into Taliban ‘fiefdoms’.

“For six months there have been efforts to bring fiefdoms to Afghanistan,” Mr Karzai said, adding that Islamabad was trying to get Taliban into power in “one or two” provinces.

In an interview with Reuters on Monday Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Ershad Ahmadi disclosed that the proposal had been made by Mr Aziz at a meeting with Mr Daudzai.

According to Reuters, the proposed formula envisaged “a form of federalism and ceding power in some Afghan provinces to the Taliban”.

Pakistan has always tried to play the role of a peace broker in the Afghan conflict. Those efforts were intensified over the past year and a half which led to the setting up of Taliban’s political office in Doha to serve as a point of contact with the insurgent group.

Islamabad’s role in the process, though not fully known yet, was largely about using its clout with the Taliban to persuade them to talk to the Americans and the Karzai government. The initiative, however, soon ran into trouble with the Taliban naming the Doha office as political office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and raising a flag.

Mr Karzai protested and the name and flag were removed by the Qatari authorities.

Intense diplomatic activity followed to salvage the process by pacifying agitated Karzai and trying to improve relations between Kabul and Islamabad.

Mr Karzai has agreed to get past the Doha office opening controversy, but his scepticism about Pakistan and the latter’s negative view of Karzai coupled with its obsession with the Taliban are preventing things from moving forward.

The ties are instead deteriorating and at a faster pace.

Afghanistan also feels offended by Pakistan’s frequent calls for an intra-Afghan dialogue. An Afghan official, speaking over phone, explained that the Afghan government believed that there was no need for intra-Afghan dialogue in the presence of an elected government and other functioning state institutions.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins told Dawn: “Taliban desired to share power, but wanted a bigger share than what others might give them.” He thinks Pakistan enjoys significant influence over Taliban, but was not in a position to dictate terms to the insurgent group.

Pakistan and the US also differ significantly in their reading of the situation in Afghanistan. Pakistani assessment is that the Karzai administration has a nominal control over the country, while Taliban influence was growing.

The Americans to the contrary think that Afghanistan has made significant progress since the Taliban days and its people would not like to see the situation reversed. They (US) believe that Taliban may be militarily a significant force, but not a dominant one.

A Pakistani source expected status quo in reconciliation efforts to continue till US Secretary of State John Kerry’s anticipated visit to Islamabad later this month. “Much depends on talks with him (Kerry), where we will put our perspective on the table,” he said.

Published Jul 02, 2013 03:52am

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Sheetal
Jul 02, 2013 07:02am

It is nothing but sheer hegemonic on part of Pakistan. India should also demand who should rule Pakistan as it is a constant source of trouble for India.

S. Tanwir Hasan
Jul 02, 2013 07:11am

Every one knows Pakistan's perception about Afghanistan (Establishment and present political government included) that Afghanistan should be handed over to Taliban and that Kabul government is too weak to govern. They do not understand and have no sympathy with Afghan people that their rights and freedom will be compromised under Taliban rule when it is known that Taliban are ignorant, violent and cruel people who want to run the country using harsh and brutal punishments and will confine the women to their homes. Why don't they cede the territory of Pakistan to Pakistani Taliban and let them rule - and this is the double standard.

Naved
Jul 02, 2013 07:13am

When will Pakistan FO stop meddling in Afghan affairs. Let the Afghan manage their own affairs and let us manage our own

Polpot
Jul 02, 2013 07:48am

"Pakistan’s role in the war-torn country and said it always tried to make a positive contribution." ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Positive for Pakistan and negative for Afghanistan.

Polpot
Jul 02, 2013 07:59am

According to Reuters, the proposed formula envisaged “a form of federalism and ceding power in some Afghan provinces to the Taliban”. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Translated: the proposed formula envisaged “a form of federalism and ceding power in some Pakistan provinces to the Taliban”. People who live in glass houses.......

mohtasim irfan
Jul 02, 2013 07:57am

Hats off to the military establishment for playing their cards right, even through turbulent times. Afghanistan should always be an integral part of our national security policy. Installing pro pakistan taliban along the bordering provinces of afghanistan should be our priority. Afghanistan has always been a playground for foreign powers and thats the price they pay for being weak. Its about high time that we protect our interests in Afghanistan as it is the key to countering the foreign backed TTP in KPK and maintain a stalemate with India in this new " great game."

Polpot
Jul 02, 2013 08:08am

"Afghan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at Pakistan for trying to divide Afghanistan into Taliban ‘fiefdoms’." ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Its based on Pakistans own expereince of breakup into Bangladesh and then the Tribal areas under nominal Govt control in West Pakistan.

Bong
Jul 02, 2013 08:24am

Leave Afghanistan alone. Pakistan has its own problems focus on it. Having electricity is important or having influence in the short term is important ? Friendship between countries is all dependent on economic considerations.

Pakistani
Jul 02, 2013 09:48am

Pakistan has no business with interfering in its neighboring country. It is already paying a very high price for its role. It will continue to pay even a bigger price if it doesn't change its attitude. Additionally, It had never made a positive contribution in its affairs. Their policy towards Afghanistan is a waste of time & money except to fatten a few people.

gary
Jul 02, 2013 01:16pm

“Pakistan wants to see a peaceful, united, prosperous and stable Afghanistan. To that end Pakistan has been making constructive contributions,” FO spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry told Dawn.

This is a outright line. Peace has to come in the terms of Pakistani army, else there will be no peace. It is another matter that in the process Baluchistan will be separated from Pakistan.

Sardar KHAN
Jul 02, 2013 09:25pm

@Sheetal: On what grounds? Can you elaborate your uncalled for wish, Your country even have any border sharing and no cultural effinity with Afghanistan at all.

Saeed
Jul 02, 2013 09:25pm

@Sheetal: Stop day dreaming....for dat u'v 2 b as mighty as USA. till dat day, chill!!

Saeed
Jul 02, 2013 09:28pm

@Sheetal: Keep dreaming in broad daylight wid open eyes....for putting such silly thots into reality, u need to b as mighty as US and make Pak as weak as Iraq and Libya. which is v unlikely siuation...till dat time Chill!!

Munir Ahmad
Jul 02, 2013 09:35pm

@mohtasim irfan:

You better accept for Pakistan what you except for Afghanistan....

Here is a good comment Sheetal... "It is nothing but sheer hegemonic on part of Pakistan. India should also demand who should rule Pakistan as it is a constant source of trouble for India."

BP
Jul 02, 2013 09:34pm

Pakistan playing role to resolve the afghanistan problem ? who will resolve pakistan's problems?

gopal
Jul 03, 2013 03:22am

@Pakistani:

If any of the readers know any Afghan personally,ask him what he or she thinks about Pakistan. These Afghanis always blame Pakistan for their problems.