Tuesday, November 13, 2012
By Karen DeYoung and Greg MillerPresident Obama is considering asking Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) to serve as his next defense secretary, part of an extensive rearrangement of his national security team that will include a permanent replacement for former CIA director David H. Petraeus. Although Kerry is thought to covet the job of secretary of state, senior administration officials familiar with the transition planning said that nomination will almost certainly go to Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. John O. Brennan, Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, is a leading contender for the CIA job if he wants it, officials said. If Brennan goes ahead with his plan to leave government, Michael J. Morell, the agency’s acting director, is the prohibitive favorite to take over permanently. Officials cautioned that the White House discussions are still in the early stages and that no decisions have been made. Petraeus’s resignation last week after revelations of an extramarital affair has complicated what was already an intricate puzzle to reassemble the administration’s national security and diplomatic pieces for Obama’s second term. The process has become further complicated by congressional ire at not being told that Petraeus was under FBI investigation, on top of what are likely to be contentious closed-door hearings this week on the administration’s actions surrounding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Rice, one of an inner circle of aides who have been with Obama since his first presidential campaign in 2007, is under particular fire over the Benghazi incident, in which U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Some Republican lawmakers have suggested that she was part of what they suspect was an initial election-related attempt to portray the attack as a peaceful demonstration that turned violent, rather than what the administration now acknowledges was an organized terrorist assault. Rice’s description, days after the attack, of a protest gone wrong indicated that she either intentionally misled the country or was incompetent, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday. Rice, he said, “would have an incredibly difficult time” winning Senate confirmation as secretary of state. But several White House officials said Obama is prepared to dig in his heels over her nomination to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has long said she will serve only one term. Rice’s post-Benghazi remarks on several television news shows were merely a recitation of administration talking points drawn directly from intelligence available at the time, said the senior administration officials, who agreed to discuss the closely held transition planning on the condition of anonymity. Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, said the White House would not comment on personnel matters. The upcoming hearings and an independent State Department review of the Benghazi attack — being led by retired diplomat Thomas Pickering and retired Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — may reveal some intelligence lapses and security missteps, one official said. But they will also demonstrate that there was no attempt at subterfuge, the official added. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter also has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, as has been Michele Flournoy, former undersecretary for policy at the Pentagon. The timing of a nomination for Panetta’s successor is unclear. On Monday, he said he had no imminent plans to step down but indicated that he was unlikely to stay in the job for the duration of Obama’s second term. “Who the hell knows,” Panetta said when asked by reporters traveling with him to Australia whether he would remain in office for four more years. “It’s no secret that at some point I’d like to get back to California.” Kerry did not respond to requests for comment on his possible nomination at the Pentagon. A spokeswoman, Jodi Seth, said: “Senator Kerry’s only focus right now is his job as senior senator from Massachusetts and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.” But administration officials, one of whom described Kerry as a “war hero,” said his qualifications for the defense job included not only his naval service in Vietnam but also his knowledge of the budget and experience in the diplomacy that has increasingly become a part of the defense portfolio. They said the Democrats’ retention of the Senate majority, with a net gain of two seats, in the election provided a cushion that allowed them to consider Kerry’s departure from the chamber. White House national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon, principal deputy Denis R. McDonough and Benjamin Rhodes, deputy for strategic communications, are more likely than not to remain in place, at least initially, officials said. Antony J. Blinken, Vice President Biden’s national security adviser, is said to be under consideration for Rice’s job at the United Nations, as is Samantha Power, the National Security Council’s senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights. It was unclear who would take Brennan’s job if he leaves government or moves to the CIA. He was the top contender to lead the agency when Obama was elected in 2008, but he withdrew under criticism, which he deemed unfair, of his role in intelligence excesses in the administration of George W. Bush. Although that challenge is now seen as behind him, officials said he has not indicated whether he would like to be considered again to head the agency where he spent 25 years. Beyond complicating the overhaul of the national security team, Petraeus’s departure will send ripples through management layers at the CIA. Many had expected Petraeus to stay in place for Obama’s second term, and he had spent recent months planning transitions at other key posts at CIA headquarters. Now, four of the agency’s most critical positions — director, deputy director, head of the National Clandestine Service and chief of the Counterterrorism Center — have become question marks. Within hours of Petraeus’s resignation Friday, his biography was excised from the CIA Web site and replaced with that of Morell. If Morell ends up permanently in the job, he will need to designate a new deputy and would be in charge of other pending personnel decisions that Petraeus had been poised to make. Michael G. Vickers, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, also has been mentioned as a candidate for CIA director. The head of the clandestine service, John Bennett, was talked out of retirement to take that job and has signaled his intent to step down in the coming months, current and former officials said. The top position in the Counterterrorism Center, which carries out the CIA’s drone campaign, is also expected to come open. The current director, known by his cover name, “Roger,” has been in the job for more than six years. Former CIA officials said Roger has wanted to be named director of the clandestine service but has a reputation for harshness toward subordinates and had been expected to be passed over by Petraeus. Morell was considered a standout analyst at the CIA before entering the agency’s upper ranks and is highly respected among his colleagues and at the White House. Obama, a White House official said, “has enormous trust in [Morell’s] ability to lead the CIA for as long as is necessary.” He is also considered a possible candidate to replace Brennan at the White House.
http://abcnews.go.comAfter every election, the losing side usually engages in a combination of introspection and rationalization. Currently, the Republican Party is both acknowledging that it has a demography problem, while also continuing to insist that this election was a demographic fluke.
Bahrainis have once again staged demonstrations against the Al Khalifa regime in solidarity with the family of a teenager killed in a recent protest. The demonstrations were held across the country on Sunday to condemn the death of Ali Radhi, who was killed during a protest near the northwestern village of Diraz on November 9. The 16-year-old was reportedly run over by a car while being chased by the regime forces, as they were attacking protesters heading toward the village to join the Friday Prayers led by Sheikh Issa Qassim. The protesters on Sunday condemned the regime’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protests. Meanwhile, the Manama regime said in a statement on the same day that it deployed paramilitary National Guards to several areas around the country to patrol “strategic locations” that were the scenes of clashes. However, the move was regarded as an apparent sign of efforts by the authorities to crush anti-regime demonstrations. Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been the scene of anti-regime protests since February 2011, and scores of people have been killed and hundreds more injured in the regime crackdown. On October 30, the Al Khalifa regime imposed a ban on all public gatherings across the country. Bahraini protesters, however, say they will continue holding demonstrations until their demands for the establishment of a democratically elected government and an end to rights violations are met.
Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina yester scrapped her planned Pakistan visit later this month to join an international summit, officials said here today. “We have just been informed (by the PMO) that she (Hasina) is not going . . . she could not make it this time,” a senior foreign ministry official familiar with the situation told Gulf News preferring anonymity. The official could not elaborate further about the changed plan but said Foreign Minister Dipu Moni was likely to represent the premier at the summit of the Development-8, a grouping of eight nations with Muslim majority population, on November 22. The development came three days after the premier’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told media that she would go to Islamabad on a three-day tour as Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar handed her over an invitation letter from President Asif Ali Zardari.Khar arrived Bangladesh capital on a five-hour tour carrying the invitation when Dhaka reiterated its call for a formal Pakistani apology for the genocides the Pak troop carried out during Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War as she held talks with her Bangladeshi counterpart Dipu Moni. The summit in Islamabad is scheduled for November 22 and Hasina was expected to make her first tour to the Pakistani capital since her ruling Awami League was elected to power in December 2008 general elections. She, however, visited Islamabad as premier during the previous 1996-2001 tenure of her Awami League government. Dhaka-Islamabad ties in the past four years was limited to a visit of Bangladesh’s education and commerce ministers and the parliamentary speaker to Islamabad and foreign secretary-level official consultations in November 2010. The bilateral ties also witnessed a little strain two years ago as Bangladesh initiated a process to try its nationals who had joined hands with the Pakistani troops in carrying out the atrocities. But Dhaka insisted that the process would expose to justice only the Bangladeshi collaborators of the Pakistani troops on charges of “crimes against humanity” while Islamabad subsequently acknowledged it to be an internal affair of Bangladesh. The incumbent government has been demanding Islamabad’s official apology for the Pakistani troops’ atrocities during the 1971 Liberation War. But Khar told Moni since 1974 Pakistan “at different times and different manners expressed its regret for the 1971 incidents” while its the time to proceed forward burying the bitter past. Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf during a 2002 tour to Bangladesh visited the National Memorial for 1971 martyrs and wrote the visitor’s book “Your brothers and sisters in Pakistan share the pain of the events of 1971. The excesses during that unfortunate period are regrettable. Let us bury the past in a spirit of magnanimity. In 1985, President Ziaul Haq visited the national memorial and told Bangladesh’s media persons, “Your heroes are our heroes.” Earlier, in June 1974, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto visited the memorial. Pakistan recognized Bangladesh in 1974, when the country’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman visited Islamabad to join an OIC summit. Repatriation of several million Urdu-speaking people who claim them stranded Pakistanis and sharing of wealth of pre-1971 undivided Pakistan remained to be outstanding issues in bilateral ties.
Two persons were killed and eleven others were injured in a blast that hit the FC check post at airport road in Quetta, Geo News reported Tuesday. According to initial reports, a blast hit the FC check post near airport that killed two persons and wounded 11 others. Many vehicles were also damaged due to the impact. Firing was also reported after the explosion. Law enforcement agencies and rescue teams immediately reached the spot to initiate rescue efforts. Security forces cordoned off the area and started investigation.
indiatimes.comAn influential state-run daily on Monday highlighted anti-China protests in Pakistan, regarded as an "all-weather ally" of Beijing and blamed Pakistani media for stoking anti-China feelings. Written by a Pakistani scholar, an article in the Global Times said the recent protests in Karachi against the development of a mega city project funded by Chinese companies is "being highlighted as a symbol of anti-China sentiments inside Pakistan". "However, the reality is entirely different from what is being portrayed in media reports," the article said. The writer wrote that the number of protesters was no more than 200, while the population of Sindh is more than 40 million, contending that the protesters were not representing the majority. "Had there been any anti-China sentiments, there would have been a bigger crowd," it said.
http://www.rferl.orgOfficials say gunmen have shot dead three Shi'ite Muslims and wounded two others in Pakistan's troubled southwestern province of Balochistan. Officials said the shooting took place on November 12 in the town of Mach, some 70 kilometers southeast of the provincial capital, Quetta. Local police officer Sher Ahmed said the three men from the Shi'ite Hazara community were killed and two others were wounded when gunmen on a motorbike sprayed bullets at two vegetable shops. Balochistan is rife with Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between majority Sunnis and minority Shi'ite Muslims, and a regional insurgency waged by ethnic Balochi separatists. In September, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch said more than 100 Shi'ites had been killed in sectarian attacks in Balochistan this year. Islamabad Accuses Kabul Of Killing Civilians The Pakistani government has accused Afghan forces of killing at least four civilians in a cross-border shelling attack. Islamabad says the civilians were killed on November 11 when mortars exploded outside a house in the border village of Neiznarai in the South Waziristan tribal area along Afghanistan’s southeastern border. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani condemned the cross-border attack in a conversation with the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Mohammad Umar Daudzai. According to a statement from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, Jilani called the attacks "unhelpful and unproductive." The alleged attack came just as a senior Afghan official visited Islamabad to discuss peace talks with the Taliban. Pakistan is seen as critical to reaching a peace deal with the Taliban because of its historical ties to the group.
By Khaled Ahmed
Dividing the Taliban into 'good' and 'bad' creates complications that cannot be explained without destroying the credibility of Pakistan's future strategy in AfghanistanPakistan is increasingly relying on the subterfuge of dividing the Taliban into 'good' (Afghan) and 'bad' (Pakistani) Taliban as a prop to the Army's 'endgame' strategy in post-withdrawal Afghanistan. But there are complications encountered in this formulation that cannot be explained without destroying the credibility of Pakistan's future strategy, more focused on Afghanistan than on Pakistan's internal erosion of sovereignty. Pakistani Taliban are killing our citizens and soldiers and therefore it stands to reason that we should designate them as bad. But we have a hard time preventing this label from becoming blanket, enveloping the other category too, the Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Umar. We are supposed to believe that Mullah Umar and his Shura are in Afghanistan, manfully battling the forces 'foreign invasion' engineered by Islam-hating America. We describe them as good because we suppose they don't kill our citizens and soldiers. Contradictions of good-bad doctrine:The polarity we wish to establish by setting up this good-bad designation is based on rejection of America which significantly supports India's Afghan strategy in our eyes, and challenges Pakistan's pursuit of 'strategic depth' in the neighbouring state. Fleshing out this formulation further, we assume that the Afghan Taliban do not wish to kill our citizens and soldiers while the Pakistani Taliban are doing so at the instigation of America. This formulation is supposed to please Mullah Umar and his Shura while exposing the Pakistani Taliban - who kill us because of our pro-America policies (sic!) - to internal fracturing. The doctrine assumes that pro-America Taliban are killing pro-American Pakistanis.There are insurmountable contradictions in this doctrine. Pakistan's madrassa network and the religious parties support the Pakistani Taliban and therefore attract the mischief of the doctrine that Pakistani Taliban are American stooges. But there is a problem here too. Since the Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC) - against the reopening of the NATO route - was organised and deployed by the ISI, the theory exposes the Pakistan Army and the DPC to the same accusation. It redefines the DPC as a handmaiden of America which is in contradiction of the underlying policy of using it against America and India. 'Good' outfits that support 'bad' Taliban:There are others who fall victim to the policy of describing Pakistani Taliban as an American policy instrument. Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) has adopted a policy of believing that the Pakistani Taliban are not American-funded but are alienated tribals who will relent only after the Americans are gone from Afghanistan and the Taliban government is restored in Afghanistan. It is a carefully crafted policy buttressing the anti-American strategy of the Army of getting America and India out of Afghanistan at the cost of the Northern Alliance empowered by these two external players. The non state actors of Pakistan linked to the madrassa network and religious parties are one strong factor that defies adjustment to the policy of 'bad' Taliban. Led by Jamaatud Dawa of Hafiz Saeed, these laid-off warriors have linked themselves to the Pakistani Taliban although some will partially 'disapprove' of their policy of killing Pakistani soldiers to the extent they (non state actors) are supported by the ISI. The non state actors are strong in Punjab, some having moved to the tribal areas and attracted the label of Punjabi Taliban, but they are growing strong in Karachi and interior Sindh too. PPP 'bad' because it calls Taliban 'bad':The power of the non state actors has influenced political attitudes in Punjab. Somewhat like PTI, the dominant Punjab party the PMLN also holds that Pakistani Taliban are not 'bad' and should not be attacked but instead engaged in talks. Both PTI and PMLN and to some extent the (pro-Lal Masjid) PMLQ now in electoral alliance with the PPP simply do not embrace the formulation of 'bad' Taliban. If one counts the generally anti-American media and the population of Pakistan the situation that emerges radically undermines the strategy of 'bad' and 'good' Taliban propounded by the PPP government through its Interior Minister Rehman Malik who in turn performs the function of reconciling his government's thinking with that of the Army. The most obvious victim of the doctrine of 'bad' Taliban is the PPP government, its genetically programmed bad governance already exacerbated by the slow death of the state at the hands of the Taliban. In the face of an overwhelming popular support of the 'bad' Taliban on the basis of the Army-directed anti-Americanism, the PPP along with its allies ANP and MQM runs the risk of getting ousted from the 'good' category. In other words, anyone who describes Taliban as 'bad' cannot be 'good' by reason of being close to the American view of Taliban. Afghan Taliban 'good' because Pakistan trains them:To consolidate his doctrine of 'bad' Taliban, Interior Minister Rehman Malik attributed the lawlessness of Karachi to 'bad' Taliban. He announced recently (The News, 4 Nov 2012) that 'Karachi has become a centre of Taliban activities while action against the Taliban was continuing'. Ironically, Karachi is also the city where the ISI is said to have located the Afghan Shura of Mullah Umar and is not terribly pleased with reporters, such as late Saleem Shahzad, who get too close to the Shura members there. In most areas where the Taliban are dominant the populations are once again manifesting signs of embracing the anti-American worldview of the Pakistani Taliban. How 'good' are the 'good' Taliban of Mullah Umar? How far does Pakistan control the 'good' Taliban? How will Pakistan stop the madrassa network and the non state actors from supporting the Pakistani Taliban and Afghan Taliban at the same time? The fact is that in the coming post-withdrawal Afghanistan Pakistan will participate in a possible 'regional solution' without the ability to control the mujahideen that will inevitably go from Pakistan into Afghanistan to tilt the battle against the Northern Alliance. If 'facts on the ground' are to be created in favour of the 'good' Taliban then this infiltration will be inevitable even as a part of Pakistan Army's strategy. 'Good' Taliban support 'bad' Taliban:Morally speaking, if there are good and bad Taliban they should be opposed to each other. It would be absurd for Pakistan to defend this Manichaeism if the two categories are in fact merged. There is news that actually exposes the absurdity o0f Pakistan's artificially bifurcated thinking. In January 2012, the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban set up a five-member council to coordinate attacks in Afghanistan and resolve differences between factions on both sides of the border. Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan announced the development through pamphlets distributed in the markets of Miranshah, the main town of Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region. There are further definitional complications here. The good-bad Taliban council included representatives from the Haqqani network, which the US blames for attacks on foreign forces in Afghanistan. Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the Haqqani network a 'veritable arm' of Pakistan's ISI. If the Haqqani network is 'good' Taliban in our lexicon then the Shia of Kurram Agency do not agree as they report that the network is involved in sectarian massacres in Parachinar. The 'bad' Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud who kills Pakistani troops is hiding in North Waziristan together with the 'good' Taliban who are supposed to kill only Americans. 'Good' Taliban too hate Pakistan:There is evidence that the 'good' Taliban too do not like Pakistan as represented by the ISI 'handlers'. In October 2011 the BBC broadcast its two documentaries titled Secret Pakistan showing ISI's handling of the Afghan Taliban in the Afghanistan battle zone, helping them kill US-NATO troops. The most disturbing factor in the revelation made in these documentaries was that most Afghan Taliban being 'handled' (trained) by the ISI hated Pakistan. Earlier in 2010 a British academic Matt Waldman working for London School of Economics interviewed a number of Afghan commanders who were not too enamoured of Pakistan. (Waldman worked in Afghanistan for two and a half years as Head of Policy and Advocacy for Oxfam and is now a fellow of the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He advised the Liberal Democrats on defence and foreign affairs from 2004 to 2006.) The Afghan Taliban resented the fact that they had to do what the ISI wanted in return for a pledge by Pakistan to release their leaders (Mullah Umar, etc) from Pakistani confinement. A Pakistan Army spokesman described the Waldman report as ridiculous and 'part of a campaign against the Pakistan Army and the ISI'. In Pakistan, most TV cables don't carry the BBC channel.
By:Syed Sadaqat HussainHow long Pakistan’s economy will survive if the present situation of the Karachi city continued for few more years. Once again before starting the Muharram, Karachi is under the siege of fresh wave of ethnic and political violence and sadly saying that 28 killed in last 36 hours only, whilst the city where police and para military forces are forced to maintain law and order situation since a long time. Every time government vows to restore order in the southern port city of Karachi and would not tolerate a repeat of the disorder whist the situation is that they are totally fail to establish peace in the city having all machinery and funds to stop killing of innocent people in the city. The fresh situation is that there are so many groups in the battlefield such as political parties, different ethnical groups, religious factors, Talban are fighting each other and in the meantime they are fighting with police, and paramilitary forces as well. The targeted killing escalating its way and the situation in this context could not seen normal since a long time. It is really a mockery that how a government or state and its economy can bear such a huge loss of lives and trade where the Karachi is a pragmatic commercial hub of the country. It is the known fact that Karachi generates over 60 per cent of the total revenue of the country and provides fuel to its economy and also providing shelter and employment continuously to every walk of the people to its citizen but what the city is receiving back is: law and order situation, targeted killing, Bhatta, Politically captured areas and No Go Areas etc. etc. On the other hand, the government is not serious to establish peace in the city, which is a general opinion of every citizen of Karachi. The last week of this month was terrible in Karachi; the loss of lives continued through targeted killing and unavailability of CNG. Some analysts say that the potential reflects a civil war. In fact, the city is under civil war-like situation—there is no day gone without killing 7 or 10 persons. Whilst, the causes of clashes are purely existence of illegal weapons and the city has a long history of sectarian and ethnic strife. Now the political parties and their workers are very active for political control of the city. There are so many places in the city, which are No Go Areas. Business Community urged many a times to Army for taking over the control of the city. The City —vibrant few decades back—is now showing picture of a dead city. Business, educational, cultural activities are totally affected by daily killing. Unhealthy slogans, red, green, white, flags on every residential project can be seen showing control of the area from the political parties. Paramilitary troops have already been deployed in several areas of Karachi and now become a question mark. Even there is no rescue to protect life, property and work. In addition, Karachi plays a key role in the Afghan war, supplies for American and NATO forces are shipped to the city for trucking across the country and into neighboring Afghanistan. Karachi residents say that the government has failed in its responsibility to maintain law and order. Interior Minister Rehman Malik has often rushed here to mediate, but peace has never lasted. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or M.Q.M., which controls the city government, is a secular group that draws support from Urdu-speaking people whose ancestors migrated from India after partition in 1947. The Awami National Party, or ANP, has an Islamic Pashtun base that has been growing because of migration from the north, where the army has opened a series of campaigns against the Pakistani Taliban. Similarly, Jamat-e-Islami, and Ahl-e-Sunnat Waljamaat also have a larger exposure and influence among the citizen. The only solution to establish peace in the city is to deweaponize Karachi. Until and unless city would not clean up from weapon, political culprits and their dacoit workers, the peace will not be lasted here. We would like to see about the action by the provincial government of Sindh should be taken to ensure the economic hub of the country remains the safe, vibrant destination for locals, and visitors as it was always been in the few decades back. The prime responsibility of the government is to ensure public safety very seriously and employ a comprehensive approach to ensure the continued safety of the local and visitors to the city. We have increased spending on local law enforcement and dispatched additional forces to the city but the results are zero. Government should simultaneously take decisive action against the lawbreakers. This includes modernizing the city police, seeking more federal assistance to fight against all mafia and passing a new law to strengthen the penal code. A comprehensive and continued strategy would be developed to deweaponize the city. Most affected areas to be controlled by the Military. No Go Areas and politically held areas should be cleared with the help of Army. City’s exit points are watched carefully. Patrolling of army and construction of bunkers are necessary to better safeguard of the people. These measures would be very helpful if the authorities sincerely adopt the strategy.
Daily TimesPrime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday said the government of Pakistan would do all that it takes for a peaceful Afghanistan. He stated this while talking to Salahuddain Rabbani, chairman of the Afghan Peace Council, along with members of his delegation, who called on him at the Prime Minister’s House and discussed with him matters of bilateral interests. Raja said there is consensus in Pakistan that both Afghanistan and Pakistan should work together for peace in the region. He expressed the hope the delegation during its visit would hold discussions with Pakistani officials, which will pave the way for closer relations between the two countries. Rabbani said the people of Afghanistan were grateful to the people of Pakistan for the assistance extended to them during their struggle against the Soviet Union. Dilating on the incidents of cross-border shelling, both the leaders agreed there should be increased coordination between the two countries to stop such incidents in future. Raja said both countries had to work together and leave a legacy for coming generations, which is peaceful. Meanwhile, analysts warned that without Taliban involvement little would come of the negotiations. Support from Pakistan is seen as crucial to peace in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Afghan-Pakistani talks were derailed more than a year ago amid a welter of accusations when Rabbani’s father, Burhanuddin, then head of the peace council, was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Kabul. This week’s talks come as efforts to end the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan gain a new urgency as the withdrawal of US-led NATO combat troops looms ever closer. But analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai warned no progress of any substance would be made this week, beyond Rabbani getting to meet the Pakistani side for the first time. “The problem is that the Afghan government has not been in contact with (the) Taliban. Even Rabbani has not been able to get in touch with the Taliban since he became chairman of the council,” Yusufzai told AFP. Yusufzai said while Pakistan has some influence over the Taliban it was unrealistic to think Islamabad could convince the terrorists to return to the negotiating table. Analyst Hasan Askari said while Kabul and Washington might be keen for some kind of accommodation with parts of the Taliban, the group had little incentive to talk, knowing NATO will leave in two years. “They are waiting for withdrawal of international troops and are confident that they can make life for (the) Kabul government miserable,” he told AFP.