Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Softening Attitude towards Pakistan

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Softening Attitude towards Pakistan

Both Afghanistan and US have been showing softening attitude towards Pakistan, after a short period of relatively rough attitude. US secretary of state Hilary Clinton has mentioned that though relation with Pakistan has been complicated yet it has been compulsory. Pakistan can prove to be an important factor in the long term solution of terrorism in the region. In her recent visit to Pakistan, she was able to gain the confidence of the Pakistani officials towards a healthy relation between the two countries, at least in the official announcement of the results of her visit.

It is being disclosed that during the visit both US and Pakistan agreed on a "blueprint" that seeks a peaceful end to the decade-old war in Afghanistan, suggesting that the visit was not just about, "How to deal with Haqqani's?" An unnamed senior Pakistani official has reportedly claimed, "You can say it a breakthrough as we have agreed on a broader framework and a concept of reconciliation for Afghanistan," and "The US is willing to agree on things which we have been telling them for months." He is further reported to have claimed that the move was an acknowledgment that Pakistan cannot be bypassed in the matters related to Afghanistan.

This changing attitude of US leadership seems to raise many questions about the capability of US to tackle the ongoing scenario masterfully. Moreover, the attitude of US towards Taliban has also been contradictory. On one hand there have been invitations of negotiations to the Haqqani's and other Taliban and on the other hand the aggressive policies have been maintained towards them as well. This contradiction was even accepted by Hillary Clinton during her visit to Pakistan, where she said, "I will certainly admit that much of what we see that needs to be done in the region may, at first, appear inherently contradictory.

But it has been our experience over many years that unfortunately, it is both, simultaneously, that will convince some to come to negotiations and will remove others who are totally opposed to peace." If this approach seems contradictory on one hand, on the other it has a dominant incapacity of how to distill the innocents from the culprits.

Furthermore, how would the peace loving authorities be able to find out the culprits if they are disguised as innocents. The circumstances to come will definitely test this particular approach to a large extent and also the capability of the US authorities to tackle the so called "End Game" in Afghanistan appropriately. Any how, now it becomes clear that US considers that its interest does not lie in an angry Pakistan; rather it lies in the greater peace for which it has invited even the notorious Haqqani's on negotiation tables.

On the other hand Afghanistan has also started to realize that the strategic pact with India and blunt accusation of Afghan authorities that Pakistan's spy agency had been behind the killing of Burhan ud din Rabbani casted much impact on the relations with Pakistan. Further tension in this regard will definitely deteriorate the situation so much that it may get out of control. Therefore, the attitude of Afghan president has changed comprehensively.

On the current issue of cross border firing, president Karzai claimed that most of the information was not reliable. Media and MP's kept on insisting that there had been a large number of rockets fired from the Pakistani side of border into Afghanistan, but President Karzia did not seem to agree with the claims.

He asked the media personnel to verify the information before airing them to the people. Definitely, it is necessary that media must be careful about the information that is aired to the people and the suggestion from the president is a wise one. However, it at the same time, pointed at the softening attitude of the president towards Pakistan.

This change in attitude reached to its peak when a couple of days earlier the president in an interview to a private Pakistani channel claimed that Afghanistan would go in the favor of Pakistan, if there is any sort of attack on Pakistan by any other country – actually pointing towards a possible tussle between Pakistan and US. The statement by the president made many of the people belonging to different walks of life in Afghanistan react strongly. Many condemned this attitude from the leader of the country and suggested that such attitude would definitely bring loss to the interests of the Afghan people.

Pakistan on the other hand has been under immense pressure but it has kept on rejecting the Pakistani support for terrorism. Pakistani authorities have kept on reminding the sacrifices they have given in the war against terrorism and they have insisted that they have been trying for a peaceful Afghanistan and have been assisting Afghanistan in that regard. However, it must be mentioned here that some in influential section of Pakistani authorities themselves have had indulgence in religious extremism and they have been supporting terrorism to a certain extent.

Therefore, Pakistan has not always been able to prove its claims right and keep its promises.
There may be many aspects of the softening attitude towards Pakistan. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that it is a very good sign if Afghanistan, US and Pakistan come closer to one another in order to find long lasting solution to the issue of terrorism in the region. Before it is too late to mend, it is necessary that these three countries must get as close and as cooperative as possible.

In no way they should get in such a position where all the possible ways to negotiation are blocked. It is not very important in today's politics if there are changes in attitudes, but it is really important that what the changes are going to bring and what they are intended for. If they are intended for the betterment of the people and future of the region it must be welcomed warmly. In the meanwhile, these three parties have to show extra-ordinary political prudence and determined efforts against terrorism, along with good intentions.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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