Stories about Hamid Karzai

Afghanistan can accept the Taliban, but not recognise the Durand Line?

In an unprecedented move, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani surprised the world by proposing peace talks with the Afghan Taliban. He made this offer in his opening speech at the Kabul Process Conference, which was attended by the representatives of around 25 countries, signalling a major policy shift from his earlier belligerent stance. Ghani expressed his government’s willingness to accept the Taliban as a legitimate political group, and insinuated that factions of the Taliban will have to recognise the Afghan government and respect the rule of law, suggesting, “We are making this offer without preconditions in order to lead to a peace agreement.” The Taliban, who dominate a ...

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Who is the real winner in Af-Pak tensions?

Recently, when Pakistan decided to move heavy artillery towards the Afghan border, many wondered if a full-scale war was about to be initiated between the two countries. Surprisingly, Kabul refrained from retaliating when Pakistani forces shelled terror camps on the other side of the border. It was hard to fathom such an action as Afghanistan has always been considered “a brotherly neighbour”. Where India has always remained our nemesis, Afghanistan now might well be pilfering the former’s title of being our “arch rival”. So how did we end up in this mess where brothers have turned into fierce rivals? Firstly, since 2001, both the countries have fuelled a never-ending cycle of blame game. This ...

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Have you forgotten what India did to Nepal and Kashmir, Mr Ashraf Ghani?

We were not very surprised when you, Mr Ashraf Ghani, at the Heart of Asia conference in India, conveniently forgot how much Pakistan has done for your country. You criticised Pakistan viciously and blamed it for the problems that you are facing and are not able to resolve. You must have been a young man when the Soviet Union invaded your country in 1979 and ruled it for nine years. While Pakistan immediately condemned the invasion, along with most of the civilised world, India supported the Soviets. When most countries, including Pakistan, refused to send their teams to the Moscow ...

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Is Afghanistan making a mistake by excluding India from the peace process?

The International Crisis Group, an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation for resolving conflicts around the world recently convened a meeting on Peace and Security in Afghanistan under the aegis of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, on January 23 and 24, 2016, in Doha, Qatar. This was the second kind of such meeting organised by Pugwash to explore possible solutions to end the bloodshed in Afghanistan. Doha Conference At the Doha meeting, around 55 participants were present to discuss the possibility of hammering out a framework for a national reconciliation in Afghanistan. In a surprising development, the representatives of the Afghan Taliban, who had attended ...

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Should Afghanistan, India and Iran always blame Pakistan for their own mistakes?

It’s nothing but ironical that I’m writing this blog on the latest (if not the greatest), all intensive, simmering hot issue of yet another AfPak entanglement right around the time when one of the chief architects of Pakistan’s Afghan’s policy of the 80s-90s, General Hamid Gul, bade farewell to the world. The general, a villain to some and a hero to others, was by all means a controversial figure, one who left a deep impact on the regional politics for years to come. So when I hear the current crop of Afghan leadership screaming their lungs out with ferociously unsavoury, emotion-laden statements pointing fingers at the Pakistanis for ...

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No matter how you slice it, there can be no peace in Afghanistan

In recent years, attempts to launch peace talks with the Afghan Taliban have resulted in little more than false hopes and false starts. The ill-fated opening of a Taliban office in Qatar. A controversial prison exchange involving a US Prisoner of War (PoW) and five Taliban detainees in Guantanamo. Alleged secret talks initiated by then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Such efforts, while promising, ultimately all fell flat.   Then, last week, on the heels of a slew of informal meetings in China, Norway, and elsewhere earlier this year, Taliban representatives and Afghan government officials held what were described as their ‘first formal peace talks’ in Islamabad. The plan is to continue this dialogue next ...

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Ashraf Ghani – Bringing maturity back to international politics

Although no one will claim honestly, the new Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, for the most part, is a well-respected statesman amongst the Washington circles. Politicians are trained liars and Ghani’s predecessor was no exception to the rule. However, this guy is someone who comes across as less slippery, more adaptable to change and hence generally acceptable for his demeanours and policies. Earlier this week, Ghani was on his first official US visit as Afghanistan’s head of state. He is no alien to either US culture or politics. He studied, worked and played a prominent part in influencing Washington’s pre and post 9/11 Afghan policies. I ...

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Should Musharraf’s prediction of a proxy war be taken seriously?

William Dalrymple, a British Historian, addressed the complexities of Indo-Pak proxy conflict quite effectively in his essay, A Deadly Triangle: Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. He discussed how their armies are caught up in an inevitable local and regional war shaped by both pre-existing and overlapping conflicts. And both regional powers, India and Pakistan, armed with nuclear weapons, pose an increased threat to regional peace and security of South Asia. Several US diplomats, the likes of Tom Pickering, James Dobbins and Bruce Riedel, have adverted upon hidden proxy games that Pakistan and India have been playing for a long time. Security analysts and army generals ...

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Will Ashraf Ghani be able to restore ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan?

There is no denying that foreign policies in the subcontinent region are rapidly transforming from what they were a few years back. One major factor for this are the new heads of states, especially in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, who have been elected over the past two years. What these new heads do will decide the fate of, not only this region but, all those who are connected with these countries. Undoubtedly, there is a lot of bad blood between Pakistan and Afghanistan; the two countries share a long history of mistrust and perpetual animosity, caused by a myriad of factors, including ...

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Afghanistan: A new dawn but old challenges

For over 30 years, Afghanistan has had to contend with political upheavals, foreign invaders, economic disruption and a ruthless insurgency. On April 5, 2014, Afghans went to the polls to choose a new president, in an election that was seen as crucial to the country’s future. Divided along ethnic fault-lines, instead of an inclusive and legitimate leadership who acts as a reflection of the mosaic nature of the Afghan society, what these elections produced in return was chaos and instability. For more than six months, the two rivals for the Afghan presidency, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah had accused the other of ...

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