The Heinrich Böll Foundation has invited the former governor of Wardak
province, Abdul Jabbar Naeemi, as well as the director of the Center for
Research and Security Studies, Imtiaz Gul, to reflect on the problems and the
future of Afghan-Pakistani relations.
Mr. Naeemi stated that the most pressing issues for the Afghan people, particulary in Wardak province, are unemployment and rising drug addiction. To effectively reduce addiction, stronger media involvement and public awarness is required. In 2005 the UN proclaimed Wardak to be the first province with a zero opium tolerance. With regard to Pakistan, both panelists agreed that there has always been a close relationship between the countries. Mr. Naeemi argued that not only do both countries share a border but that they also depend on an intensive trade relation. However, there is a level of mutual mistrust between Afghans and Pakistanis arising particulary from the intransparent relationship between Pakistan and the Taliban. Mr. Naeemi mentioned that the implementation of a peace jirga, consisting of members of both parties, is a good way to improve the relationship. The international community should assist in opening a diplomatic dialogue and help propose a draft that outlines how Afghanistan and Pakistan can cooperate in the fight against terrorism.
Watch the exclusive interview with former governor Abdul Jabbar Naeemi:
Mr. Gul pointed out that the mistrust that shapes Afghan-Pakistani relations is partly due to the fact that, historically, Pakistan was an instrument in the CIA's efforts to unseat the Soviet Union during their occupation of Afghanistan. Moreover, Pakistan's relations with the Taliban give reasons to worry; violence and insecurity is pervasive throughout the country; and billions of dollars promised for aid to Afghanistan have not yet been received. Mr. Gul adds that so far analyses carried out by experts who have on the ground experience has not yet been reflected in the policies of the US and the EU. However, a successful Afghanistan-Pakistan policy requires that these people be heard. With President-elect Obama about to take his seat in the White House, changing policy approaches should be expected.
Watch the exclusive interview with Imtiaz Gul:
Sepideh Parsa is currently an editorial intern at atlantic-community.org
Related Materials from the Atlantic Community:
- Bernhard Lucke: Winning Over Tribes is the Way Out
- Interview with Hussain Haqqani: Pakistan's New Commitment to the War on Terror
- Manuel David Weitnauer: A New Chance for the US in Pakistan