Karzai Urges 'Neighbourly' Relations With Pakistan

Kabul, Dec 21 :Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday  urged Pakistan not to forge its policy on Afghanistan based on its rivalries with either India or the United States.  “We want Pakistan to have an
karzai urges neighbourly relations with pakistan...
India TV News Desk 21 Dec 2011, 8:51:34 AM IST

Kabul, Dec 21 :Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday  urged Pakistan not to forge its policy on Afghanistan based on its rivalries with either India or the United States.  “We want Pakistan to have an independent policy towards Afghanistan.

It should not look at Afghanistan based on its relations with India and America. Pakistan should approach us as its neighbour,” Karzai told local television. 

Fearful of encirclement by its wealthier neighbour, Pakistan has been accused of trying to gain strategic ground over its arch rival India by supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, relations between Pakistan and the US, which is fighting a 10-year war against the Taliban insurgency, have fallen to a new low following the November 26 NATO airstrike which killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border.

Karzai said he was trying not to involve his country in regional rivalries, so that when NATO-led foreign combat troops withdraw in 2014, Afghanistan can become a successful centre for international business.

“We are trying to turn Afghanistan into a country where in the years between 2014 and 2024 it won't be a scene of negative rivalries and clashes,” he said.  “Instead it will be a place for cooperation, business and economy, and a main transition route between central, south and east Asia.”

He said the next president, who will take office after elections in three years time, should be “sincere, patriotic, efficient and a person trusted by all the people of Afghanistan”.

Karzai, whose second and final term in office will end in 2014, said he would support such a candidate, and has previously vowed not to seek a third term.

In October, Karzai sought to reassure Pakistan after signing a new strategic partnership with India, which aimed to boost trade and cultural links, but also saw promises of a greater Indian role in training Afghan security forces.

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