Pakistan asks London to limit India’s role in Afghanistan
By Meena Haseeb - Sun Feb 17, 8:46 am
According to reports Islamabad has asked United Kingdom to limit Indian activities in war-torn Afghanistan as London is busy with brokering an agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan on peace talks with the Taliban group.
London’s response to Islamabad’s request is not clear so far however diplomatic sources quoted by The Times of India said Afghan and the British role in a possible Taliban reconciliation deal between Islamabad and Kabul would be high on the agenda, when British PM David Cameron meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for talks on Tuesday.
British prime minister David Cameron will visit India on a working tour.
Diplomatic sources further added that Pakistan had made this request to Cameron during last week’s trilateral meeting with Hamid Karzai at Chequers, the British PM’s country home.
The tripartite talks hosted by British prime minister David Cameron mainly focused on a viable way to bring the Taliban into the mainstream in Afghanistan, get Pakistan to release Taliban leaders, who are in Pakistani custody.
Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari who attended the talks also reportedly asked the UK to give Islamabad the military hardware that they would leave behind after 2014, Pakistani medias reported.
Prime minister David Cameron quoted by Pakistani media agencies said, “Your friends are our friends and your enemies are our enemies.” The UK has apparently promised some equipment to Uzbekistan — it is using the Northern Distribution Network to transport its men and materiel out.
In the meantime India is due to hold trilateral talks with Afghanistan and United States of America on Tuesday to coordinate activities in Afghanistan, an exercise that has assumed more importance.
The tripartite talk is followed after the inaugural dialogue between the three nations held in on the sidelines of the UNGA last September. Senior officials from the three nations are due to discuss on the continuing activities in Afghanistan by India and the US after 2014.
There is growing wariness within India about the apparent consonance of interests between UK and Pakistan. India believes that the UK may be helping Pakistan achieve its core interest — of facilitating a Taliban return in Afghanistan and a return to the strategic comfort of the 1990s, The Times of India reported.
Pakistan is not likely to release the Taliban leaders without important concessions to their core interests. Pandering to these could end up seriously destabilizing Afghanistan as well as threatening Indian security interests.