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May 31, 2013

US AfPak envoy on a fact-finding mission

May 31, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan administration under President Hamid Karzai is being scrutinised by major allies of Afghanistan for its dubious role in subverting the efforts for early restoration of peace in the wake of the withdrawal of foreign troops next year.
The Kabul administration is reportedly engaged in thwarting the efforts aiming at creating a peaceful and conducive atmosphere for the withdrawal. The US sentiments have been conveyed to the person at the helm of affairs in Kabul.
The US Special Representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) James Dobbins who was on his maiden trip to the countries of his assignment has told Kabul to come to terms and help in improving the atmosphere so that the region should rid itself of turmoil that is causing enormous difficulties for the people of the whole area.
Well-placed diplomatic sources told The News here on Thursday that the US president’s special representative visited Islamabad and stayed there for two days before leaving for the next destination. It was Dobbin’s first trip to the countries in his new capacity.
Ambassador Dobbins had a meeting with prime minister designated and president Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) Mian Nawaz Sharif before proceeding to his next destination. He went to Lahore for the meeting. Foreign Secretary Syed Jalil Abbas Jailani was also present during the meeting.
He had a meeting with Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the foreign secretary and some other senior officials. He did not meet President Asif Zardari since he was in Karachi but Ambassador Dobbins spoke with him via phone.
In an intriguing development, a US armed drone carried out an attack in the tribal areas of Pakistan and got killed Taliban leader Waliur Rehman. He had been supportive of having a dialogue with Pakistan.
The Taliban have as per expectations withdrawn from talking to Pakistan as the result of the assassination of Waliur Rehman. The ambassador is

the first high ranking US diplomat to have a meeting with Nawaz Sharif since the polls this month.
According to the US mission in Islamabad, Ambassador Dobbins offered congratulations to the people of Pakistan on the historic elections and underscored the United States’ commitment to working with the next democratically-elected government to build a strong, mutually beneficial bilateral relationship.
The Foreign Office has said that Ambassador Dobbins and his interlocutors discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues, including advancing shared counterterrorism objectives; increasing economic opportunity; strengthening civilian democracy and civil society; and supporting an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process during his engagements, the sources said.
Ambassador James F. Dobbins called on the Foreign Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was accompanied by Lt. Gen (R) Doug Lute, Special Assistant to the US President, and Ambassador Richard Hoagland, Charge d’ Affaires US Embassy Islamabad. During the talks discussion on bilateral relations and regional situation including latest developments in Afghanistan took place.
The two sides exchanged views on several actions to be taken in the realm of bilateral cooperation. The foreign secretary also briefed the new US SRAP about the steps taken by Pakistan for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to remain positively engaged in supporting the peace process. Both sides reaffirmed their desire to work closely for consolidation of bilateral relations and partnership in all spheres of cooperation including peace and stability in the region.

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