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Time to get rid of 'strategic depth' hangover on Pak-Afghan ties: Khar

Islamabad, Sat, 03 Mar 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Mar 3 (ANI): Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said she hopes for a relationship with Afghanistan based on trust and called for leaving behind the past associated with interference in that country and support for the Taliban.


"Recognise what we are doing now without overshadowing it with whatever has been Pakistan's historical baggage. We are moving out of that hangover," The Dawn quoted Khar, as saying.


But there is definitely no remorse for "the historical baggage" because she said all the countries that helped create the "Frankenstein" should share the blame.


After his visit to Islamabad last month for the trilateral summit, Afghan President Hamid Karzai had said Pakistan's support was crucial, but regretted that there were (at the time) impediments to peace.


His comments were taken as a reference to the absence of support he expected from Islamabad for furthering peace and reconciliation in his country.


Pakistan has long been accused by Afghan and western officials of providing sanctuaries to Taliban leaders with a view to retaining influence in Afghanistan after NATO completes its drawdown in 2014.


Khar rubbished the idea of Pakistan desiring for strategic depth in Afghanistan, but said if one was needed it could not come through fighting a proxy war.


"If we are looking for any strategic depth it cannot be achieved militarily or can come through a proxy war. The only way to do is through building trust with the Afghan state."


Talking about the issue of reconciliation, she said, Karzai had clearly said during bilateral talks that Pakistan intended to have a "pro-active supportive role and not a pro-active leading role" in the process.


Explaining the intra-Afghan dialogue for which Gilani appealed last week, the foreign minister said the idea was to have the Afghans decide for themselves at the level of Loya Jirga about the broader framework for peace talks.


"First they should have an intra-Afghan process to see on what conditions they want to run the peace and reconciliation, who do they want to run the process, what is the timeframe they want this to be done." (ANI)


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