North Waziristan Update

In closing statements from their meeting in Afghanistan, Musharaf and Karzai pledge mutual support, and an end to blaming each other in the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and renewed vigor against terrorism. This is the second part of their meetings after the North Waziristan treaty in Pakistan. Since then 70 Aghan expatriate families are now migrating back from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

Reading between the lines of the article there is a short sentence to the effect that the focus should be moved from Al Qaeda to the Taliban south of Kandahar, and Mullah Omar. This is an interesting sentenct that could be interpreted many ways. One view of this could be that Usama Bin Laden has already been captured and whisked to a secret prison as part of the pact, or that UBL has left Pakistan and both leaders know it.

Here’s the article, bolding is mine:

President Pervez Musharraf has said Afghanistan must stop blaming his country for the Taliban-led insurgency. “I completely agree that Al-Qaeda and Taliban are doing activities both in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Musharraf told a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his most senior officials. But he added: “This is not sponsored by Pakistan. The Pakistan government or I or the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) are not — I repeat not — behind anything happening in Afghanistan.”

“You blame us for whatever is happening in Afghanistan,” said Musharraf, who left Kabul on Thursday afternoon after his first visit since 2002. “Every bomb blast — Pakistan is doing it; every suicide bombing — Pakistan is doing it,” he said, calling for an end to the “blame game”.

He further said that Pakistani soil was not being used against Afghanistan and Afghanistan should not have any doubts in this respect. The President said it saddened him and the Pakistani people when Afghanistan blamed everything that was happening in that country on Pakistan. “That is what saddens us,” he said and added that Pakistan was a home to some four million Afghan refugees and about 2.5 million of them were still residing there.”

He told the august gathering that a stable Afghanistan was in the interest of its own people as well as for the regional peace. The President said no one should doubt Pakistan’s sincerity and assured that “we are with you (Afghanistan) in the fight against terrorism, Talibanization and Al-Qaeda.”

He said Pakistan apprehended and handed over about 200 Taliban this year to the Afghan government. President Musharraf said there should be an end to blame-game as it affects the brotherly relations of peoples of the two countries. He said peoples of the two countries were blind with love for each other and added, “Don’t do anything where people start disliking each other.” He also stated that blaming each other was a sign of defeat and the two countries must work jointly to defeat terrorism and extremism.

President Musharraf said Peshawar-Jalalabad road, to be inaugurated next week, was a physical manifestation of Islamabad’s contribution and added that his country also desired to finance railway track linking Quetta with Kandahar.

He said the two countries needed to forget the past and move towards future for their mutual benefits and their peoples. “We have to remove weaknesses and consolidate on our strength,” he added.

The President also made it clear that guarding the common border was the collective responsibility of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In this context, President Musharraf also referred to suggestions of fencing and mining the Pak-Afghan border that Pakistan had made in the past to check illegal cross-border movement.

However, the President said as the focus was now shifting from Al-Qaeda to Taliban, both Pakistan and Afghanistan need to locate their command structure and destroy it.

Pakistan, he said, believed that the command structure was in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province where Taliban were operating under Mullah Omer. Afghanistan may be thinking differently in this context, he added.

President Karzai appreciated President’s candid analysis of the situation in the region and said his country did not blame the Pakistan government, but was only requesting for its support to counter terrorists.

On Pakistan’s concern for the Afghan territory being used against it, President Karzai reiterated his pledge not to allow anyone use Afghanistan soil against Pakistan.

He also expressed his happiness over the signing of peace treaty in North Waziristan, while referring to the clause in the agreement with regard to cross-border movement.

Update of interest from IRNA:

The government of Pakistan will start the countrywide registration of Afghans counted in the 2005 census of Pakistan, the UN refugee agency said on Friday. Those registered will receive a Proof of Registration (PoR) card that recognizes them as Afghan citizens living in Pakistan.

The card will be valid for three years, a UNHCR statement said. Only Afghans, who arrived in Pakistan after 1 December 1979 and who were included in the February-March 2005 census by the Pakistan government, will be eligible for registration.

Those with a Pakistani national identity card do not qualify. Participation in the exercise will be mandatory for all Afghans enumerated through the census. Those who do not participate and who cannot demonstrate compelling circumstances for not doing so will be subject to relevant national laws.

The nationwide registration is scheduled to start on 15th October 2006 and will last for 10 weeks.  The Registration of Afghans will be carried out by the National Database and Registration Authorities (NADRA) of the Government of Pakistan in close collaboration with the Ministry of SAFRON. Details about the registration exercise will be made available soon.

UNHCR will be assisting the government of Pakistan to mobilize resources for the registration which will cost US$6 million. No fees will be charged for the registration of Afghans in Pakistan. The Rcrd will be for identity purposes only and will not confer any additional rights or status.

The PoR card will have high-security features such as digital photographs and will include the individual’s fingerprint as in the new Pakistani NIC issued by NADRA.

We also have this, not being noted much in the media here:

A peace deal between Pakistan and pro-Taliban militants does not give “safe haven” to terrorists who may be hiding on tribal lands near the Pakistani-Afghan border, US President George W Bush said in an interview on Thursday. “I don’t read it that way,” Bush said of the agreement Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s government signed on Tuesday in which the militants agreed to stop attacks in the region. “What he is doing is entering agreements with governors in the regions of the country, in the hopes that there would be an economic vitality, there will be alternatives to violence and terror,” Bush said in an ABC News interview.