Ankara urges Islamabad, Kabul to talk
Afghanistan’s Karzai will today meet Turkey’s Gül and Pakistan’s Zardari. AFP photoForeign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has advised his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts not to get hung up about current tension over the assassination attempt on a senior Afghan official and to focus on ways to improve trilateral relations during the presidential summit that will take place in Ankara today.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asıf Ali Zardari will meet under the mediation of Turkish President Abdullah Gül today to ensure the security cooperation and continue the reconciliation process.
Border raids on the table
The meeting will be the sixth one held since the trilateral mechanism was established in 2007. One of the main problems between the two neighboring countries is the presence of strong armed fundamentalist groups that conduct cross-border raids on an almost daily basis, straining bilateral relations as both countries accuse each other of harboring these groups.
In a preliminary session, Davutoğlu met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassul yesterday afternoon to review the issues that were scheduled to be discussed during the presidential summit. According to diplomatic sources, Davutoğlu demanded both foreign ministers not turn today’s meeting into a deadlock by focusing too much on the assassination attempt made against Afghanistan’s intelligence chief, Asadullah Khalid.
“This incident is of course going to be an important issue. But we believe this issue should not cast a shadow on the very objective of this sort of trilateral mechanism,” diplomatic sources said. Davutoğlu will, however, be absent during the presidential summit as he will join the Friends of Syrian People meeting to be held in Morocco.
Turkey has already begun to establish an encrypted crisis hotline for visual communication between the three presidents in a bid to form connectivity between the leaders. Karzai and Zardari are also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on economic and commercial cooperation while a trilateral commission will also be set up for commercial cooperation. A joint communiqué is expected to be issued after today’s summit.
Pakistan 'fails' security
WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse
Despite an easing of tensions with the United States, Pakistan is persistently undermining security in Afghanistan by permitting safe havens for insurgents, a Pentagon report said on Dec. 10.
Taliban havens across the border in Pakistan, the limited capacity of the Afghan government and “endemic corruption” pose the greatest risks as the United States prepares to pull out troops by the end of 2014, the Pentagon said. The report noted the better U.S. relations with Pakistan, which agreed in July to reopen Western forces’ supply routes into Afghanistan. Pakistan had refused access after a U.S. border strike killed 24 of its troops in November 2011.
“However, Pakistan’s continued acceptance of sanctuaries for Afghan-focused insurgents and failure to interdict (explosive) materials and components continue to undermine the security of Afghanistan and pose an enduring threat to U.S., coalition and Afghan forces,” the report said.