Iranian President Visits Afghanistan
Two Reports from Xinhua
TEHRAN, March 9 (Xinhua) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Afghanistan on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday.
â€œIt has been decided that the president will visit Afghanistan on Wednesday,â€ Mehmanparast told reporters in his weekly press conference.
The visit will mark Ahmadinejadâ€™s first official visit to the country since the re-election of Hamid Karzai as Afghan president.
An unidentified Afghan official said Monday that Ahmadinejad has postponed visit to Afghanistan which is originally scheduled on Monday.
Afghan President to visit Pakistan for seeking help to hold talks with Taliban
ISLAMABAD, March 9 (Xinhua) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai will pay a two-day visit to Pakistan on Wednesday and is expected to officially ask Pakistan for its assistance in the talks with Taliban, political analysts here said.
They said that the president will also seek the extradition of the top Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar from Pakistan to Afghanistan for a court trial.
Sources from Pakistani Foreign Office said that President Karzai will meet his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and some other civil society members.
Anti-terrorism battle, U.S. army surge, repatriation of Afghan refugees and progress in the war-ravaged country will also be discussed during the meeting with Pakistani high-ups, they said.
Analysts believed that Pakistan will raise the issue of border infiltration of militants from Afghanistan and of its missing persons while Afghanistan will seek details for the recovery of the abducted Afghan diplomat Abdul Khaliq Faraakhi.
Afghan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar has asked for Baradar extradition when he held a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik in Islamabad last month. But circumstances changed when a Pakistani court ordered not to hand over Mullah Bardar to any country.
Saleem Safi, a leading journalist and expert on Afghan affairs, told Xinhua that President Karzaiâ€™s visit is very important because the situation has changed and American authorities have given a green signal for negotiations with Taliban, adding that Pakistan could play a crucial role in the negotiations with Taliban.
It is the first visit of Karzai to Pakistan after he won his second term as President in November 2009, Safi said.
â€œApproach in Pakistanâ€™s policy towards President Karzai has changed too much but there is slight shift in policy towards Afghanistan,â€ said the expert.
Maryana Babar, an analyst on foreign affairs agreed that the visit is very important in the backdrop of the new U.S. policy for Afghanistan, in which Pakistan has asked for a role in the negotiations process.
Babar said that Pakistani Army Chief General Pervez Ashfaq Kayani, in his recent trip to Kabul, told the Afghan government and U.S. authorities that Pakistan could provide training to Afghan troops.
She said that the Afghan president would bring a plan of action and will ask Pakistanâ€™s assistance in the process of reconciliation and reintegration with Taliban as Karzai has openly asked Pakistan and the Saudi Arabia for assistance in bringing Afghan Taliban to talk table on the sidelines of London conference in January.