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Karzai puts conditions on Pakistan for strategic pact

Published Oct 04, 2012 12:19pm

Afghan President Hamid Karzai.—AFP Photo

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday addressed the possibility of signing a strategic pact with Pakistan, which he accuses of harbouring Taliban insurgents.

“We are happy to have strategic relations with Pakistan. We want this strategic pact with Pakistan. But we want some conditions and preconditions from Pakistan.

“First they should stop terrorists, suicide bombers crossing to Afghanistan,” he said. “If these conditions are met – terrorism is stopped, extremism is dismantled, anti-Afghan activities are stopped, destruction of Afghanistan is stopped, friendship starts between the two countries which hasn’t happened so far – then a strategic pact would be signed between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

President Karzai, while addressing a news conference in Kabul, criticised Western media for gloomy predictions about Afghanistan’s future once US-led foreign forces withdraw from the war against Taliban insurgents in 2014.

“This is a psychological war by the Western media against Afghanistan: once the foreign troops pull out, Afghanistan will be poor, there will be civil war and the Taliban will return, etcetera,” Karzai said.

The president said he had raised the issue with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a visit to the United States for the UN General Assembly last week.

“I believe if the objective is to influence future agreements on the number of US military bases, the presence of US troops beyond 2014 – it can’t achieve this through psychological war,” he said.

The United States has said it does not seek permanent bases in Afghanistan, but is expected to keep a small force in the country after 2014 for counter-terror operations. Details have not yet been agreed.

Karzai mentioned in particular The New York Times, BBC and CNN, adding, however, that “unfortunately, local media, television and radios and analysts are also predicting civil war in Afghanistan once foreign troops pull out”.

Respected Afghan expert Gilles Dorronsoro of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is just one among many analysts who have predicted renewed strife in Afghanistan.

“After 2014, the level of US support for the Afghan regime will be limited and, after a new phase in the civil war, a Taliban victory will likely follow,” he wrote recently.