Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Karzai Present at Zardari's Swearing In Ceremony

I am encouraged to read that Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai was present at the swearing in ceremony for Pakistan's new President Asif Ali Zardari.

Karzai and Musharraf could not stand each other. President Bush often had to serve as a mediator between the two. There have been many skirmishes along the Afghan-Pakistani border over the years. Karzai has publicly accused Pakistan's intelligence service of assisting Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

Suffice it to say, Karzai's presence not only indicates a warming in relations between the two countries but also indicates that Pakistan, at least politically, is more serious concerning fighting Taliban/al-Qaeda terrorism. Whether Pakistan's military and intelligence services will follow suit is another matter of course. But an imminent U.S. troop reduction in Iraq and consequent troop surge in Afghanistan will also help to mend fences. Some also think Karzai is too close to India. Then again all the more reason for Pakistan to become friendlier with Afghanistan and if there are similar successes with a surge in Afghanistan there will be political space for both Karzai and Zardari.

Things won't improve overnight but this is a very welcome development.

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