Kerry aims to soothe Afghan-Pakistan tensions
Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) and Pakistani Army Chief-of-Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, on April 24, 2013 during a break in a meeting in Brussels.
April 24th, 2013
12:15 PM ET

Kerry aims to soothe Afghan-Pakistan tensions

By Elise Labott reporting from Brussels

Secretary of State John Kerry brought together Afghan and Pakistani leaders on Wednesday to help soothe tensions between the two countries and try to breathe life into the reconciliation process with the Taliban.

Keeping expectations low for any immediate progress in the process, Kerry said all sides still have "homework" to do.

"We have agreed that results will tell the story, not statements at press conferences," Kerry told reporters in Brussels before returning to Washington. "We are not going to raise expectations or make any kind of promises that can't be delivered."

Kerry hosted Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani at Truman Hall, the secluded estate of the U.S. Ambassador to NATO outside Brussels.

Afghan Defense Minister Bismellah Mohammadi and Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani joined the talks.

Opening the meeting, Kerry said the talks were important because Afghanistan is currently in a "critical transformational period."

Officials traveling with Kerry said the meeting lasted more than three hours.

Kerry, who has a good relationship with both Karzai and Pakistani leaders, suggested the meeting in part to help ease tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which have sharply increased over recent border disputes.

With the majority of U.S. troops set to leave Afghanistan next year, the Obama administration hopes to achieve a peace deal between Karzai's government, the Taliban and Pakistan.

But the Taliban has not appeared interested in a deal and competing agendas from neighbors, like Pakistan, have made an agreement elusive.

Addressing U.S. diplomats on Tuesday in Brussels, Kerry said his goal for the talks was to advance the peace process "in the simplest, most cooperative, most cogent way so that we wind up with both Pakistan's and Afghanistan's interests being satisfied but most importantly with a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, which is worth the expenditure and the treasure and effort of these last years."

Pakistan's involvement is seen as crucial to peace efforts because its security services have close ties to the Taliban and other militant groups.

Karzai has said reconciliation cannot succeed without Pakistani buy-in and recently accused it of placing too many conditions on its involvement in peace talks and failing to live up to its previous commitments.

Afghanistan has charged that Pakistan wants to keep Afghanistan unstable after NATO troops end their combat mission by the end of 2014.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country has "consistently endeavored to facilitate an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process."

Karzai met with NATO ministers on Tuesday to discuss transfer of the alliance's decade-long combat mission in Afghanistan before the end of next year to a training and support role.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Pakistan to crack down on militants who use Pakistani soil to launch attacks on Afghanistan.

"We need a positive engagement of Pakistan if we are to ensure long-term peace and stability not only in Afghanistan, but in the region," Rasmussen said Tuesday.

"Pakistan and Afghanistan have a mutual interest in fighting extremism and terrorism and cross-border activities."

The United States has said it will likely leave some troops after 2014 for counter-terrorism operations, but President Barack Obama has yet to make a decision on troop levels.

Washington is negotiating a bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan which will dictate terms of an extension for U.S. troops and could provide the basis for any future NATO role.

soundoff (25 Responses)
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  4. home personal training

    I couldn't agree more with Kerry the talks were important because Afghanistan is currently in a "critical transformational period." Pakistan
    needs to go after these guys. They are a big key to defeating these guys.

    April 12, 2014 at 9:51 am | Reply
  5. andi lee

    Please, Secretary Kerry, keep the promise- pull our troops out, as promised to the American people! Let the U.N. and NATO handle this as a collective. Why are we paying into the U.N., who has no accountability, no transparency within, with our BILLION american tax dollars? Stand Down, Sir!

    April 28, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  6. Pete

    If you want these two Muslim extremist countries to be good kids threaten to take away the one thing both cherish and that's their foriegn aid ..Both can't wipe their butts without it and you can't have terrorism without cash on hand ,terrorists don't work for free!!And believe me they should give Pres.Obama a medal as well for pushing drones overseas its easier because its basicly little maintenence involved and no soldiers are killed if the drones intel is up to snuff keeping them out of harms way,more efficent than front men militarily too with those fancy cameras!!You out there complaining Pres.Obamas a murderer because of drones overseas go overseas awhile like some of my sons friends militarily and you'll come back wanting more in the sky as well to save your asses as well!!

    April 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  7. leddhead

    Peace with the...Taliban...? What?

    April 27, 2013 at 5:15 am | Reply
    • George Patton-2

      Peace with the Taliban, you say? It happens be a great idea. We Americans have a moral obligation to relinquish our control of that country as the case is with Iraq, too. We need to adopt a policy of Isolationism and a laissez-faire foreign policy!!!

      April 27, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  8. drones luv pakis

    the master and the two puppets...!!!

    April 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  9. George Patton

    The Fool, The Bad, The Ugly

    April 24, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Reply
    • Muzz

      Mohammed, Koran, and Islam?

      April 25, 2013 at 7:36 am | Reply
      • wjmccartan

        Wrong Muzz, they are Obama, Cameron and Angie Merkel of Germany! These three are truly nauseating!

        April 25, 2013 at 8:57 am |
      • Muzz

        Obama is a Nobel Peace prize winner.
        Mohammed was the butcher of Banu Qurayza.
        Out of the two, the Nobel Laureate does not nauseate me.

        April 25, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  10. Mohaisin Sharif

    In past, Such types of meetings have never brought any productive results! Let's see what happens this time? According to my opinion, China, Russia and Iran should also be involved in such dialogues! As being influential countries of the Region!

    April 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  11. Joe M.

    No surprise here. What Kerry wants to do is to unite these two countries since the U.S. is seeking to control both!

    April 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  12. Wasiq

    Corrupt media do not tells the truth, :" Which is " U.S. and Allies NATO have been defeated in Afghanistan and so is their puppet Karazai, They are now looking for an escape , with dignity, which is not there, For how long the media and west will make peoples fool, in the end defeat is still at your side.

    April 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Reply
    • Silverado

      America is an industrialized country, which likes to automate everything instead of doing it manually. Drones are a form of automation which allow civilized countries to fight the war on terror with these radical Islamic countries. Since we have drones, American soldiers do not need to be put in harms way. Radical Islam can be defeated with technology very easily. The 2014 pull out is a sign of progress – war can still be fought with drones. That is exactly what the US is doing...

      April 24, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Reply
    • drones luv pakis

      hahaaaa..and paki..u believe in the 72 virgin theory too right..????

      April 26, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Reply
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    Towel Heads vs. Towel Heads. Priceless.

    April 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • u ass eh

      u ass eh

      April 27, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply

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