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The Killid Group
Shifting stanceWritten by Lal Aqa Shirin
Sunday, 09 October 2011 12:30
President Hamid Karzai was in New Delhi last week to sign a strategic pact with India, the first such bilateral agreement with any country with the aim of boosting trade, security and cultural relations.
The president's visit to India came against a backdrop of deteriorating relations with Pakistan in the wake of the assassination of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani who was appointed by Karzai to lead peace negotiations with the Taleban.
A few days before he flew to the Indian capital Karzai had called a crucial advisory meeting of Jihadi leaders, political personalities and high-ranking government officials to discuss the peace process and strategic agreements with the US and other countries.
It was agreed that Pakistan has not cooperated with Afghanistan to bring peace and security in the region. Neither has the Taleban, which has links in Pakistan.
The meeting was followed by a televised broadcast to the nation on Oct. 3 by President Karzai who was more than usually blunt. He accused Pakistan of letting him down by "pursuing a double game" - promising friendly relations with Afghanistan but doing nothing to rein in the Taleban.
With the death of his chief peace negotiator, Rabbani, the president has abandoned a strategy for peace that focused on bringing the Taleban to peace talks.
The turnaround was surprising for a president who after the assassination of his half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai in July, had insisted the door to peace talks with the Taleban was open. At the funeral for Rabbani in Kabul Sep. 23 Karzai had announced the peace process would not be derailed by the killing as Rabbani had also been committed to finding a durable solution to internal strife in Afghanistan.
Afghan leaders present at the Sep. 28 meeting agreed that there was no point in trying to reconcile with the Taleban which have remained indifferent to the repeated attempts to woo them. Instead they have become even more hostile; there has been a string of brazen suicide attacks in the capital city.
The wisdom on the street, however, is that by calling off peace talks Karzai may be pushing Afghanistan deeper into a vortex of violence.