Gilani surprised by Karzai’s aggressive posture


Islamabad: Afghan President Hamid Karzai adopted a “rather aggressive posture” at a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and “bombarded us with a number of demands laced with accusations”, a Pakistani minister has said.

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Karzai met Gilani on the sidelines of the just-concluded SAARC summit in the Maldives, Dawn News reported.

The Afghan president called for Pakistan’s “meaningful cooperation” in investigating the assassination of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was killed in a suicide bomb attack Sep 20.

During the meeting, Karzai “bombarded us with a number of demands laced with accusations,” the unnamed Pakistani minister was quoted as saying.

“The meeting took place in a highly tense atmosphere as the Afghan president was not in a mood to listen to anyone. Frankly speaking, Prime Minister Gilani was taken aback because he had expected a friendly gesture from the Afghan president,” he said.

Karzai’s first demand was that all negotiations between the two countries would have to start from the Rabbani killing.

The Afghan president alleged that Pakistan was not doing enough to stop cross-border attacks, which he said “reflected poorly on his government’s performance in the eyes of the world”.

Gilani told Karzai that “leaders from both sides had to understand each other’s sensitivities and start working to find some common ground”, the minister said.

Rabbani was the leader of a peace council constituted by Karzai and tasked with negotiating with the Taliban. He was killed in his own home while meeting two men claiming to be from the Taliban, one of whom had a bomb hidden in his turban. The council later said it had been in touch with the Taliban high command based in Pakistan’s Quetta city, and was told a messenger would be sent to Kabul.