Pakistan is not attending the upcoming Bon II conference on Afghanistan. The reason is clear i.e. the killing of at least 24 Pakistani soldiers by a NATO copter raid earlier this month. The decision of not participating in Bon II was taken at a cabinet meeting in Lahore just days after Islamabad confirmed it was mulling its attendance in the conference, where Pakistan's participation was considered vital. "The cabinet has decided not to attend the Bonn meeting," a government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
If Pakistan doesn't participate in the conference about the future of Afghanistan, it will definitely influence its outcomes. Pakistan is considered an important regional player and its absence on the negotiation table in Bonn II is really going to make a big difference.
Earlier, the Pakistani government had urged its Afghan counterpart that Afghanistan should not be allowed to be used against any other country. But the condition of Kazai administration in decision making, at times when there is a heavy Western presence here, is quite pathetic. NATO raids have resulted in the deaths of Afghan soldiers and civilians for several times in the last ten years.
But the government of Afghanistan has not been able to do anything except condemning those incidents. It can only do the same in response to what the Pakistani government has wanted. Nonetheless, Pakistan has already used the tools on its hand: barring NATO convoys from using road links from Karachi to Afghanistan to transport supplies to the international troops there.
Moreover, the US is no longer allowed to use an air base in Baluchistan that is thought to have been used to launch drone attacks in the tribal border region.
Pakistan wants to keep its influence in Afghanistan, especially beyond 2014 when the international troops will withdraw from here. The role of Pakistan in bringing the Taliban to the table of negotiation is also being deemed vital. Bringing peace to Afghanistan without support from Pakistan is going to be a very difficult task for the international community.
The important Bonn II conference would be quite irrelevant, if it misses participation of the key regional player – Pakistan. The Western countries are now required to put efforts to persuade Pakistan.