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Afghan President Hamid Karzai is traveling to Pakistan early next week to discuss...

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tiemau | (Level 1) Honors

Posted August 24, 2013 at 11:16 PM via web

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai is traveling to Pakistan early next week to discuss bilateral ties and seek Pakistan’s assistance on the Afghan government’s peace talks with the Taliban. What is Afhanistan's expectation from this visit? How will Pakistan respond?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 24, 2013 at 11:51 PM (Answer #1)

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For Afghanistan, the expectation is that Pakistan will curtail its support of the Taliban that seeks to undermine the Afghanistan government. In light of Karzai's visit to Pakistan, Afghanistan's belief on this point is firm:

"Our message [to Pakistan] is very clear," he [Mohammad Akram Khpalwak, Afghanistan's border and tribal-affairs minister] said. "If they do not take action against these kinds of groups, there will not be a better security situation here. Peace will not be coming."

For Afghanistan, the primary purpose out of this meeting is to establish a firm commitment that Pakistan is going to respect the sovereignty of Afghanistan.  This will be demonstrated in Pakistan's commitment to reign in the Taliban as well as prevent encroachment on Afghanistan territory in the border regions.

In terms of Pakistan's response, much is unclear here.  With the ascension recently elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the position, much is unclear.  Sharif's election was based on a platform of industrialization and modernizing through commerce.  His gestures towards a more conciliatory position towards India and noted toning down of nationalist rhetoric can be seen as early indications that perhaps negotiation with Afghanistan can be a distinct reality.  Sharif has not claimed a position that would make negotiation and diplomatic ties with Afghanistan impossible, as evidenced in his support and facilitation of a friendly soccer match between both nations.  Yet, what his administration's exact response will be to what the Afghanistan leadership will ask of him is something that cannot be fully gauged at this time.

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