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Pakistan scoffs at US-Taliban talks

To say Iran has an important role to play in Afghanistan will be stating the very obvious. But when it is the Pakistani FO spokesman who says that, the statement gains in content. The two countries have been described as ‘rivals’ on the Afghan chessboard.

Now, that is precisely what the Pak FO spokesman Abdul Basit has been quoted as saying in Islamabad earlier today: “Establishing sustainable security and stability in Afghanistan is impossible without Iran’s role. To establish security and reinvigorate Afghanistan, Iran must be given due attention and must be trusted, because pushing the trend of peace and establishing durable security and stability without Iran’s partnership is impossible.”
No doubt, it is a very meaningful statement at this point in time when the United States and Qatar are speeding up the talks with the Taliban and are even doing kiteflying that the former Taliban commander-in-chief Mohammed Fazl could be released from Guantanamo prison as a CBM by the Barack Obama administration.
Nobody has bothered to ask Iran even for an opinion. Tehran may have certain views about Fazl, who probably was involved in the execution of 8 Iranian diplomats in cold blood in Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998 when the Taliban captured the city. Tehran also may have some strong views about the dubious role that Qatar has been playing in the Middle East as the US’s ‘Islamic poodle’. 
The fact of the matter is that the US venture to have the Taliban open an office in Qatar is in reality a dagger aimed at the Pakistani heart. The US estimates that once the Taliban are ‘liberated’ and brought under Qatari inducement, ISI’s influence over them will wane.That is sound logic. 
Pakistan is hard-pressed to annoy Qatar, which is a generous Arab patron. But by introducing the ‘Iran factor’ at this point, it can ensure that the best-laid US plan becomes a non-starter. For Iran, the core issue in Afghanistan is the US occupation — and Pakistan can count on that. 

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  1. Ibne Ashfaque says

    This news should be read in tandem with the another piece of news reported in Dawn that the groups fighting Pakistani as well as American forces on both isdes of the Durand Line have unanimously decided to form a five-member commission to be known as Shura-i-Murakbah to coordinate their activities. It appears that the Yankees are increasingly getting isolated in Afghanistan. The Regional countries: Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia are re-configuring their relationship about American presense in Afghanistan, while the groups fighting the Americans in Afghanistan are also converging. The supply lines via karachi do not appear to be reconnected anytime soon. Given that the goods in transit are being shipped back from Karachi, as reported in the local press.
    This is a time for India to take a leadership role in this region by making it easy for the Yankees to exit from Afghanistan and at the same time laying doing a regional security framework possibly within SCO, focussing on developing trade between India, Iran, Pakistan, China and Central Asia. Time is of the essence as things are changing very fast in Afpak. India must move to influence this change towards a WIN-WIN end state for the region. I fear that many in Delhi are stuck in the WIN-LOOSE paradigm of life.

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