Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Regional Relations

Pakistan, Taleban, America and the vacillations of the Afghan president

Kate Clark 22 min

President Karzai’s offer to back Pakistan if it ever came under attack from America was breath-taking. ‘God forbid,’ he told GEO TV during a visit to Islamabad, ‘if a war breaks between Pakistan and America, we will side [with] Pakistan. We are your brother.’ It was not just the scenario of an American-funded, trained and armed Afghan force defending its ‘brotherly’ neighbour should it ever come under American attack which was outlandish. His words also sounded like a slap in the face to the recently visiting Hillary Clinton who had gone hard on Pakistan in ways which looked supportive of Afghanistan. Kate Clark examines the mood and policy swings of the Afghan president towards Pakistan and the Taleban.

Members of Karzai’s office asked AAN to suspend judgement on his remarks to GEO TV until it could send a transcript of his whole, hour-long interview (it can be found at the bottom of this blog; the offending video clip can also be seen here). Karzai’s remarks swiftly went global (as of Monday morning, more than 4000 news websites had reported them). Yet even after looking at them in the context of the entire interview, they are impossible to gloss over: in three separate answers, he said that Afghanistan would stand by its brother, Pakistan, if it was attacked.
His office (in typically dull fashion – but what else can they do?) has complained about the media ‘misinterpreting’ his remarks, complaints which were in turn reported: ‘Karzai backtracks on controversial Pakistan remarks. President Hamid Karzai sought to distance himself Monday from controversial remarks…’ said AFP. It could as easily have written ‘President Hamid Karzai is seeking to distance himself from himself’ such is the mercurial tendencies of the Afghan president (see this link for the full article and here for the Los Angeles Times take).

In a matter of days, Karzai went from standing shoulder to shoulder with the Americans against Pakistan to standing shoulder to shoulder – potentially – against America with the Pakistanis. In a matter of weeks, his tone towards Pakistan has shifted – from hostile to that of an aggrieved brother. As for the Taleban, they have gone from being cast as upset brothers to extremist pawns of foreigners.*

previous AAN blog catalogued what looked like the carefully orchestrated hardening of Afghan policy against Pakistan and a sidelining of the Taleban following the murder of Burhannudin Rabbani. ‘The wish of Afghan people,’ Karzai was reported as saying, ‘is to talk with Pakistan, because the hidden places and sanctuaries of the armed opponents are located there.’ A statement from the Palace following a meeting of jihadi leaders went further: ‘Now that the Taleban is being used as a tool by Pakistan’s ISI, Afghanistan should consider Pakistan as the other side in the negotiation.’ NDS blamed the Quetta Shura for Rabbani’s death, while Bismillah Khan at Interior and Rangin Dadfar Spanta at the National Security Council said the ISI had to have been involved. With accusations in the same week by various senior US figures that the ISI was behind the Haqqani network, the result, in the shape of press reports, looked like a feeding frenzy on Pakistan.

Karzai subsequently rowed back somewhat. Bismillah Khan and Spanta were reportedly reprimanded for making comments which were too extreme towards Pakistan. Some anti-Pakistan measures announced in the immediate aftermath of Rabbani’s killing, were quietly overturned – a suspended trilateral (US-Afghanistan-Pakistan) meeting was reinstated and an invitation to Prime Minister Gilani to attend Joint Reconciliation and Peace Commission meeting was un-cancelled. Karzai also complained about anti-Pakistan propaganda in the media’s reporting of Pakistan’s shelling across the border in Kunar.**

But then when US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, arrived in Kabul on 20 October, they appeared united against the Pakistani threat. In a joint press conference, Clinton used what AP described as ‘unusually stern language’ about Pakistan, saying she expected its government, military and intelligence services to take the lead in fighting insurgents based in Pakistan and encouraging Afghan militants to reintegrate. ‘We intend to push Pakistan very hard,’ she said.

‘We believe,’ said Karzai, ‘that the Taliban, to a very, very great extent — a very, very great extent — are controlled by establishments in Pakistan, stay in Pakistan, have their headquarters in Pakistan and launch operations from Pakistan.’ Clinton was clearly sympathetic to his argument. ‘This is a time for clarity, it is a time for people to declare themselves as to how we are going to work together,’ she said, referring, said AP, to Pakistan.

On her next stop, Islamabad, Clinton was joined by two of the heaviest, politico-military pressurisers – new CIA boss, David Petraeus, and new US Chief of the General Staff, General Martin Dempsey – in an attempt to ‘push Pakistan hard.’ She could be forgiven, therefore, for wondering how on earth Karzai had interpreted her call for clarity when, out of the blue, he said he would back Pakistan – supposedly the funder, trainer and supporter of the Taleban – against America.

Karzai’s interview in Pakistan underscored also just how far his attitude towards the Taleban has shifted following the death of Rabbani. Just over a year ago in his address to the National Consultative Peace Jirga, he described the Taleban as having been so badly upset by bullying Afghan officials – abuses which he said he knew nothing about – and foreign forces that they fled their country and started fighting. Among these ‘disappointed brothers’, he said, were men who had been turned into extremists in the ‘hotbeds and training centres of terrorism’ in neighbouring countries, he said, but even they needed rescuing and welcoming home.***

On Saturday, in his interview with GEO TV, he again used the word ‘brother’ – 37 times – along with ‘twin’ – five times – but this time in relation to Pakistan. The Taleban, meanwhile, were lumped in with all the other ‘extremists’ who need combatting. This was a re-positioning of the government policy, not only in terms of who is seen as a brother, but also in where Karzai sees the insurgency stemming from. Although of course he could quite easily shift to another position, his current view – seeing the Taleban as pawns, without their own agency, and Pakistan as both responsible for the insurgency and in danger of it – was quite well articulated on GEO TV:

‘We are talking of a danger that is threatening Pakistan and Afghanistan. And that danger is the growth of militant extremism and radicalism. The growth is taking place in Pakistan, the sanctuary is in Pakistan. The application of this force, this radical, extremist, terrorist force was used as a policy, as a method, as an instrument by our brothers in Pakistan. We are seeking that to stop so both can have time to address the consequences of it, as they occur in both countries. I am talking of extremism as it is originated in Pakistan, as it is developed, promoted and supported in Pakistan. As it is affecting both of us. That has to be cut short.’

One of the themes running behind all of this churning of policy and mood is the fundamental question of why the Taleban are fighting. The Afghan president has swung between two poles, seeing the Taleban as a tool in the hands of a misguided – or Machiavellian – neighbour or as a (misguided) resistance movement driven to fight by injustice (for which even though head of state, he never casts himself as responsible for).**** Yet surely the truth is a mixture of both factors and both need addressing. The insurgency has been sparked off locally and driven by a corrupt and predatory Afghan state and the presence of foreign troops (for an in-depth look at this, see here). Yet if Taleban commanders and networks had not found sanctuary and support in Pakistan, the insurgency would undoubtedly be weaker and less deadly. Unfortunately, the president has never managed to deal with either issue with any success.

* Karzai repeated his assertion made in the aftermath of Rabbani’s killing that any peace negotiations should go through/ be directly with Islamabad: ‘And we know the current things as well therefore for us it is no longer possible to talk to a group of people who have no address, whose address is a suicide bomber and we also know that they have their headquarters in Pakistan, that they act from there, that they are financed there and that’s why we have now said more clearly, rather than talking to a nameless and addressless Talib, we want to talk to our brothers in Pakistan directly.’

** Karzai, speaking at a news conference with visiting German President, Christian Wulff, in Kabul on 16 October, said:
‘However, what the media say about the attacks and the government of Afghanistan and institutions of the government of Afghanistan have not confirmed these, especially NATO and the foreign forces with their equipment do not confirm these. Thus, the government of Afghanistan and the media of Afghanistan should act very responsibly. They should take action very cautiously not to launch propaganda and not to provoke feelings or not to adopt a measure because of other factors. We are trying to have good relations with our neighbours. We should have very good relations and these relations should be friendly and brotherly. The government of Afghanistan will surely defend its soil where there is any violation. However, about violations and the news broadcast, we should differentiate between propaganda and reality, especially our media is responsible to make sure a report is real. Then they can broadcast it.’ (Text taken from BBC Monitoring)
*** In Karzai’s speech at the National Consultative Peace Jirga, he said: ‘I call upon you again that my brother, my dear, Taleb Jan, this is your land. Come back! I will blame myself if it is my mistake in some part, but if it is your mistake, I will not blame you, but you should stop your destruction. Do not kill children and accept the invitation for peace. Release yourself from the control of outsiders. Today, he gives you a weapon, but tomorrow, he imprisons you. What kind of a jihad is it?’ (May 2010, text taken from BBC Monitoring.)
**** At the National Consultative Peace Jirga, Karzai said: ‘Listen carefully brothers and sisters! Most Taleban went home; most of them. A limited number of them left Afghanistan for Pakistan and other places, but a decisive majority of the Taleban went home and started their ordinary lives. Our government was established. I came to Kabul, but back in my homeland, what I thought and the government thought was not implemented. The people were bothered in the name of the Taleban. Our government officials, bullying individuals would break into people’s houses by force. They bothered the people. They searched the people’s houses in the name of the Taleban. They usurped properties and houses of people saying you are Taleban or are linked to the Taleban. This happened all around Afghanistan. Some people had to leave their houses and villages for this fear. I have many examples of it, but let us not talk about them right now. There may also be some participants in this gathering who might have been bothered and his house might have been searched by government officials. The foreigners too, made friends with such individuals, and conducted such actions due to which the people were distressed in the name of the Taleban and were forced to escape and left the country. Therefore, the government and some government officials and employees misbehaved, either for personal benefit and not or due to ignorance. The foreigners too made big mistakes in this process. They went to people’s houses. They may have done so themselves or have made our members make a mistake. One of the reasons is this, which I think is the small reason not the big one. (May 2010, text taken from BBC Monitoring.)

The president’s office emailed the following transcript of the GEO TV interview. With some minor corrections of English spelling, it is published here, as received. The questions which were asked in Urdu, were, said the president’s office, ‘for the sake of authenticity’, not translated.

Geo TV Reporter:
Greetings in UrduPresident Hamid Karzai: My brother, Welcome to Afghanistan! Asalam Alaikum to the people of Pakistan, our brothers and sisters in Pakistan!Afghanistan and Pakistan have had relations, most of the time in an environment of suspicion, distrust since the creation of Pakistan almost sixty four years ago and unfortunately this relationship has affected the livelihood of both countries and the orientation of both countries towards the region and their own relations. In the past ten years, since the establishment of the new government under my leadership in Afghanistan, especially from 2006 and 2007 onwards, no Afghan government, no Afghan president, no Afghan authority has tried as sincerely, as earnestly with dedication and pursuit as I have and that I have.The proposal of Afghanistan-Pakistan Peace Jirga was my proposal; the establishment of the commissions, the pursuit of the peace talks, the numerous visits that I have had, the numerous speeches that I have had on various occasions in Pakistan, in Afghanistan and elsewhere were all directed at this purpose, the purpose of extremely friendly and brotherly relations between the two countries and the removal of irritance, of GRAY areas, of distrust, replacing it with a fundamentally strong relationship where the two countries (inaudible) and the future generations ask for it, why it doesn’t come about? I can tell you from my side that the Afghan people desired it and the Afghan people have worked for it. What are the impediments to this? Why can’t we reach it? Will be answered during the interview as we move ahead.President Karzai:
We have not made any accusations; we have not disrupted the process. This year, 2011, has been a very unfortunate year for Afghanistan and also for Pakistan. Both countries are suffering for a number of years now. From terrorism, from extremism, from extreme violence perpetrated against our peoples, from suicide bombs , from insults to our religion, bombs in mosques, bombs in weddings, bombs in Eid, bombs on prayers, bombs in homes, bombs in a turban, bombs in any other form that one can imagine. Where are these bombers coming from? Who is training these people? Who is financing these people? Do these bombers come from the United States? Do these bombers come from France or from Bahrain, or from some other part of the world? Or Are these bombers and these forces of destruction are raised from within our own society? If we agree and I am sure, we do, that these perpetrators of violence and hatred, inimical to Islam and to humanity are raised and nurtured in this region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Who do we blame for it? Some hidden hands from outside? That’s our failure, if that is so the case that is our failure. Or do we look around and find out as to why? Afghanistan has been seeking this for a long time, in spite of the perpetration against Afghanistan and Pakistan and with the view and with the recognition that from 2007 onwards, Pakistan itself became a victim of these bombs. Very seriously, unfortunately damaged victims of these bombs. I recognize that it was time now to sit down with Pakistan and to find a way among ourselves and between ourselves.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu) Reporter: Sir, do you believe that they are coming from Pakistan?

President Karzai: I am not saying that. I am coming to that point. And we try to answer these questions. We spoke to our Pakistani brothers that it was time; if there are sanctuaries and we know that there are sanctuaries, if there are training rounds and we know there are training rounds, if the Taliban structures are in Pakistan and we know they are in Pakistan. Then let us help it together, because they are hurting we two as Muslims, as full blood brothers, let us stop it. Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani was martyred who was seeking extreme brotherhood and friendship with Pakistan and I am witness to that. In our meetings with Prime Minister Gilani, Chief of Army Mr Keyani and Mrs Hena Rabbani the Foreign Minister; President Rabbani told Pakistani brothers and sisters that we are here in Pakistan ,seeking peace and the removal of extremism and the sources to it, not only for peace and stability of Afghanistan but also because of the dangers that Pakistan is now facing and we don’t want these dangers to come to you. As long as we fail to come to the truth of the matter and as long as we allow extremism to be used either by us or by others.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu) Reporter: Who killed Prof. Rabbani?

President Karzai: He was killed by someone who came in the name of peace from Quetta Shura, from Pakistan. He was killed by someone who came to us , bringing a message for peace but who turned to be a suicide bomber. I heard the tape that was supposedly coming from Taliban Quetta Shura, in which someone called Mawlavi Enayatullah spoke, in that tape Mawlavi Enayatullah addressed the peace council of Afghanistan and President Rabbani in most respectful terms. In we in our quest and in our desire for peace went to blindly receive this man, having killed President Rabbani.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu) Reporter::

President : Serious damage to Pakistan. Serious loss to Pakistan. Sure, and that’s why we want Pakistan to help us find out the perpetrators and those who did it.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu) Reporter:: Pakistan offers its cooperation regarding the investigation of his murder.

President Karzai: Nothing in practice, we are still waiting for Pakistan to respond to us, we are still waiting for Pakistan to invite our delegation to visit Pakistan to investigate the matter.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Some authorities of Afghanistan did blame Pakistan but the Afghan State has not done that.
The Afghan State, The Afghan Government as a government entity has asked Pakistan to help the investigations, to investigate the matter in Pakistan, in Quetta. We have some names, we have some addresses , we have some individuals on our list, and that we have given to our brothers in Pakistan. That should be investigated. But the whole question of peace, we know the Taliban Council is in Pakistan, we know the Haqqani group is in Pakistan, we know the former link to these groups by the Pakistanis and the western countries that are now fighting them. And we know the current things as well therefore for us it is no longer possible to talk to a group of people who have no address, whose address is a suicide bomber and we also know that they have their headquarters in Pakistan, that they act from there, that they are financed there and that’s why we have now said more clearly, rather than talking to a nameless and addressless Talib, we want to talk to our brothers in Pakistan directly.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Not a question of policy, it is a question of factual information. They provided factual information and the factual information is that these people came from Quetta, so Quetta is where? Quetta is in Pakistan. Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province and there is an army headquarter there, there is an ISI headquarter there, there is a governor there , there is a Chief Minister there; we want Pakistan to investigate this.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: We have our own blame, sure. We have our own shortcomings. We should have investigated better. We should have searched the man better. We should have suspected his wide cap or hat, we should have looked into that. Those are our shortcomings. But the man ,the suicide bomber came from Quetta. He was trained in Quetta. He was given the materials in Quetta. He was told in Quetta to do the assassination of President Rabbani. I am not going to dwell into this matter. The fact of the matter is that Afghanistan and Pakistan will not see a better peaceful day, unless Pakistan decides to cut links to extremism, to cut links to the Taliban and to have a civilized relationship with Afghanistan ,where both countries benefit.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: What is the Frank Einstein theory? These people were originally trained in Pakistan, used by the Pakistani State as an instrument of policy. We all know that. Of course, the Western countries did help them in all of this during the years of our Jihad against the Soviet. In subsequent, in the form of the Taliban, now that Pakistan is suffering as well, unfortunately from this violent method, from violence, from terrorism, has become a reason for us to seek solutions together. Why? As I said earlier, when I learned that Pakistan was a victim as well, I changed my language towards Pakistan, I changed my approach towards Pakistan and I tried to embrace Pakistan and I tried to be friends with Pakistan, and I tried to do together all that we can to end this cycle of violence and perpetrators by helping one another. This did not materialize. It should be all the more reason by helping one another. It should be all the more reason for both the countries to sit down, look in each other’s eyes, and see the future in a way different than extremism, or terrorism and fight it together, bring our people a better life.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: That’s no excuse for extremism. That’s no excuse for allowing extremism or supporting extremism. Those who attacked the GHQ, Who are they? Those who attacked the Sri Lankan Cricket Team in Lahore, Who are they? Those who attacked the innocent shoppers in Lahore, who are they? Those who attacked the Karachi Naval base and destroyed Pakistan’s aircraft, who are they? Those who kill pilgrims seeking Quetta, who are they? Those who kill people in the mosque in Pakhtunkhwa, who are they? Those who do the killings in Karachi, who are they?

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu) The Pakistani forces are fighting these people.

President Karzai: No, I am coming to that point. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who came and attacked the American PRT in Panjshir last week. Where did they come from? Did they come from Uzbekistan? Or did they come from Miramshah, or Wana or another place? These are all questions that we can only address if we are sincere, if we find out that life can be better and the objectives that you seek can be achieved without the use of extremism. If Pakistan is doing all of this in order to have strategic depth in Afghanistan, it will never happen. More missiles will fall on both countries, more destruction will occur in both countries. But for Pakistan that wants a strategic depth in Afghanistan. A friendly Afghanistan, an economically viable Afghanistan, a brotherly Afghanistan, an Afghanistan of massive movement of trade between us, between the countries and with the rest of the world is the best area of depth for Pakistan. That is what we are seeking.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: We have our own failures, no doubt. NATO has failed in Afghanistan to provide security to the Afghan people, no doubt. That is a different subject. We are not talking about the failures of NATO in Afghanistan for providing security to the Afghan people. We are not talking about the failures of the Afghan government in providing security to the Afghan people. We are talking of a danger that is threatening Pakistan and Afghanistan. And that danger is the growth of militant extremism and radicalism. The growth is taking place in Pakistan, the sanctuary is in Pakistan. The application of this force, this radical, extremist, terrorist force was used as a policy, as a method, as an instrument by our brothers in Pakistan. We are seeking that to stop so both can have time to address the consequences of it, as they occur in both countries. I am talking of extremism as it is originated in Pakistan, as it is developed, promoted and supported in Pakistan. As it is affecting both of us. That has to be cut short.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu) Maybe the Haqqani network is there in Pakistan.

President Karzai: Not maybe, it is there.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu) If it is there.

President Karzai: Yes, it does exist there.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Yes, the presence of any element hostile to Pakistan in Afghanistan. I have been frank and open about it with my brothers in Pakistan, is the consequence of this cloud and smoke that is created in both countries by terrorism and by the war on terrorism. For as long as whoever, Afghanistan or Pakistan would use extremism as a method, no doubt that country will have an excuse and reason in operational environment to create the same. And those who will use this environment either against us or against Pakistan, will have the opportunity to do it, because we have violated borders , because we have created smoke screen, because we have created a grey area in which any element hostile to Pakistan , can use that environment to perpetrate any violence against Pakistan, as also against Afghanistan. This is one more reason why, Pakistan and Afghanistan should work together to remove extremism from our midst. By whatever means that we can. In other words, that Pakistan should now fully realize, fully realize , let me repeat. Since the establishment of Pakistan, I don’t mean our brothers and sisters in Pakistan, the people, I mean the establishment of Pakistan, the people should fully realize extremism, militant radicalism is like a snake, there is no way that it will not come back to hurt you, to poison you.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Ghairat Baheer was an innocent man who was arrested wrongly by Pakistan. Mullah Zaeef was the Taliban’s ambassador in Pakistan, arrested wrongly by Pakistan. The arrest of people even if they are guilty does not end the problem. What we are talking. We are not enthusiast in the arrest of Mullah Omar. We want the use of extremism to stop as an instrument of policy, we want the use of violent methods of destruction to stop as an instrument of policy because this instrument is no longer useful to Pakistan. Because this instrument is now undermining the very stability and existence of Pakistan. This is a call from a brother to another brother. That your survival, your very existence is in danger because of this violent element that you have used and applied.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Well, the Joint Commission is a good idea, as long as it is useful. What we are now seeking from Pakistan is we should sit together and talk substances that there should be no violence in Afghanistan, that there should be no suicide bombs in Afghanistan and if Pakistan fulfils that and if still something happens, and we know who did it. That we will together go and act, whether it is in Pakistan or in Afghanistan. In other words, if Pakistan acts with in sincerity with us, towards ending extremism, no power in the world will be able to bring division between us, to bring distrust between us or to separate us, we will be a very strong, united twin brotherly entity and that the people are seeking.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: It is not a question of ‘bayan’ (words or assertion), it is efforts, I have done my utmost against all odds, I have stood against the West, I have stood against the Americans, I have stood against all odds to do my best, to be friend with Pakistan and to be in the best of relations with Pakistan and to do all we can together, to bring a solution to the misery that is hurting us.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: We had issues on these questions. Sometimes, there were differences of opinion between us, the NATO and the West on these issues, but we ignored that and we continued to have our efforts with Pakistan and will continue that for all the needs that it has, for all these foreign forces’ presence in Afghanistan, thousands of them, for all the destruction of the past thirty years. Afghanistan is an independent country. We have a different character here, you know that. In spite of all the needs, the Americans pay our salaries but when it comes to the Afghan interest and the interest of the Muslims and the interest of the region and the interest of specially Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Iran and our neighbours; Afghanistan acts independently and has acted independently . It has not been given an appropriate response from our brothers in Pakistan. We believe that you are a lot more considerate of the demands of America in Pakistan, your establishment than we are in Afghanistan and that is something that you have to address there.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: I told you so. This is the consequence of this fog; this is the consequence of this confusion. Anybody can use one of our own against us and who should stop this? us, Pakistan and Afghanistan together. When that happens, nobody will be able to use either Afghanistan against Pakistan or Pakistan against Afghanistan, if it is an external entity, if it is the two of us, trying to hurt one another , then it is sad and shameful and that’s what I am trying to bring to an end.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: No, not at all. We did not leave Pakistan and will not leave it. Pakistan is a neighbour of Afghanistan. We have more than 2000 km border, we have ethnic links , we have cultural links, we have historical links. We have to live together in happiness, in prosperity and in peace. The question of India, India is a major economic power, a major educational power, not only for this part of the world but for whole of the world. India is our neighbour, a neighbour of Pakistan and a close neighbour of Afghanistan. India is giving us 2000 scholarships a year. India has given us2 billions $. And each dollar of that money has been spent extremely effectively and properly for the benefit of the Afghan people. Afghanistan’s relations with India are directed at Afghanistan’s benefiting from the growth of India, from the opportunities that India offers, from the expertise that India offers, it is not directed at Pakistan. And the Indian leaders , I can tell you with trust, as far as Pakistan is concerned. They have no intention at all to use Afghanistan in any way against Pakistan. Rather, at all the time from Indian leaders, is their desire for normal and friendly relations with Pakistan because it is an expanding economy and Pakistan is also a major Islamic country. So now, please remove this misunderstanding. Now if Pakistan thinks or establishment in Pakistan thinks that Afghanistan should have no relations with anybody but through Pakistan. That is a dream. It will not come true. Afghanistan is an independent country. Pakistan is an independent country. Pakistan is trying to have a most favourite nation’s trade relations with India. Why are you trying to have that relation with India? if that is a bad thing. Why do you try that? Why do you have Aman ke Asha with India, the Jang group Aman ke Asha? Why do you have all those conversations with India? Why is your foreign Minister visiting India? Why is your Prime Minister visiting India? You give yourself the right to have trade with India, you give yourself the right to have a most favourite nation’s relations with India and you have given yourself the right to have the Aman ke Asha Exercise with India. And you expect Afghanistan not to have an education relation with India. That’s not fair.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Yes, there is a reason. The Soviet Union was our neighbour and a very friendly neighbour. We trained our forces in the Soviet Union. And some of them became a tool in the hands of the Soviet Union to use against Afghanistan. So no country should be under the circumstance that Afghanistan was. Having the first choice of training in a neighbour, one. Second, with regard to Pakistan, maybe we will remove this rule, maybe we will remove this consideration, maybe we will send our troops, our soldiers, our officers to Pakistan for training. But Pakistan and Afghanistan must first address a fundamental problem that is affecting relations between the two countries. That is the question of terrorism. How can we send an officer to be trained in Pakistan, if we also think that a suicide bomber is coming from Pakistan? When we are sure, there is no more that negative element arriving from Pakistan towards Afghanistan, when we are sure that our relations are civilized, friendly, futuristic and based on respect and a look towards the future. We will definitely consider sending our soldiers to Pakistan, our police to Pakistan for training, our doctors to Pakistan for training. It will be a very glorious relationship once that fundamental is resolved.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: yes, but the twin brother must make sure that the other twin brother is not bleeding with a secret knife with the hands of the other twin. That must be first resolved and then this twin brotherhood will be a very fundamental strength added.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: God forbid. If a war breaks between Pakistan and America, we will side Pakistan. We are your brother. As Pakistan lodged us , as Pakistan considered us brothers and gave us houses. And we were living as refugees with honour and dignity.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: If Pakistan is attacked and if the people of Pakistan need Afghanistan’s help, Afghanistan will be there with you. Afghanistan is a brother. Against all that Pakistani establishment has done to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is still a brother. Afghanistan will never forget the welcome, the hospitality, the respect and the brotherhood showed by the Pakistani people towards Afghan people. We are five million refugees there. We will never forget that.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Anybody that attacks Pakistan, Afghanistan will stand with Pakistan. Afghanistan will be a brother of Pakistan. Afghanistan will never betray a brother. Now, our relations with India, our signing of strategic partnership with India, it did not happen at the spur of the moment. This is something that we have been working for years now. So the visit was not after these troubles that took place.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu) It was a planned visit?

President Karzai: It was planned long before, long, long before. And with the United States, Pakistan’s tensions. This has not had any impact on our attitude towards Pakistan. You know this, that we have had this engagement with Pakistan for a long time and if it comes to two brother relationship, you will find out that Afghanistan will be there with you in times of difficulties. And that is the pain that we have. Please, brother! Stop using all methods that hurt us and are now hurting you. Let’s engage from a different platform, a platform in which the two brothers only progress towards a better future, in peace and harmony. And Afghanistan will be with you. So, Afghanistan is not going to be dictated by anyway, by any country, US, India, or Russia, or China or whoever. Afghanistan has its own policy, its own stand and its own clear view on things. And from that point of view, and from that stand, is dealing with our brothers in Pakistan.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: With the Taliban, we will only talk when we know where they are. When we find an address for them, when we find a number that we can call, when we have a true representative sitting somewhere so that we recognize and talk to. Till that happens, we will be talking to our brothers in Pakistan, as the representatives of Taliban.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: That is exactly how it is right now.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: and I failed in that. I did not find my brother Mullah Omar. I found a suicide bomber. A suicide bomber found me.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Well, that’s America’s business. I am not here to talk about what America is doing. I am here to talk about what Afghanistan is doing. And what Afghanistan demands of its brother in Pakistan.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: I hope, there will be a good meeting between us and our Pakistani brothers in Istanbul, in Turkey which is a brotherly country for both of us, who has been kind and very concerned about both of us. So, I hope, we can break some ground there.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: The Taliban’s established base, established connections, established support is from Pakistan. Iran may have some links with them, but that’s not in any way as extensive, as important, as entrenched as that is in Pakistan.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Alqaeda is a question that we have talked so much about.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Well, you know our view towards NATO’s operations in Afghanistan. You know my view about the civilian casualties; you know our protests, our campaign against civilian casualties, and the way they behave with Afghanistan and that is one of the reasons, the negotiations on the strategic partnership are still carrying on. We have specific conditions for that partnership with America and with NATO, end night raids in Afghanistan. I don’t want any American soldier entering Afghans’ homes anymore when the partnership is signed, end having presence in Afghanistan, or taking prisoners in Afghanistan, and end parallel structures to the Afghan government, to the Afghan State, end private security firms and all other functions that causes an impediment to the Afghan government and causes corruption, lawlessness and violations of the Afghan laws.

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu)

President Karzai: Well, this is a question that I have answered a minute ago. That we have conditions for our partnership with the United States, and for the bases that we are seeking in Afghanistan, or the areas where they want to continue their military presence. The conditions were what I just talked about. On the presence of the troops beyond 2014 and why they are here at all is a question that again comes to our brothers in Pakistan, and the environment in which Afghanistan found itself in the past thirty years and the consequence of that is we have today.

President Karzai: You are welcome to Afghanistan. Thank you!

Geo Reporter: ( In Urdu) Reporter: Thank you very much!

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Taleban Pakistan

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