How a new chapter opened between Pakistan and Afghanistan?

How a new chapter opened
The News, March 11, 2010
Saleem Safi

The misunderstandings between Pakistan and Afghanistan should not be attributed to the wrong policies of Kabul alone. The monumental mistakes of our own policymakers in tackling the situation in Afghanistan after the US attack and the subsequent fall of the Taliban have contributed in equal measure to the Afghans' hostility towards Pakistan.

For the last eight years our policymakers ignored the importance of courting Hamid Karzai. With the exception of Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Mehmood Khan Achakzai and Afzal Khan Lala, who have a good understanding of Afghan politics and society, no one supported the idea of developing close contacts with the Afghan president.

However, the emergence of Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, two staunch anti-Pakistan political leaders, as opponents of Karzai in the recently held presidential elections came as a rude shock to our policymakers.

Pakistan had established secret contacts with Abdullah in the initial stages of the presidential campaign. Pakistan even promised to support him and Dr Abdullah was keen to get this support. However, later good sense prevailed in Islamabad and the policymakers decided to favour Karzai.

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