Gates: U.S. would support Afghan peace talks with Taliban: CNN
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States would be prepared to reconcile with the Taliban if the Afghan government pursued talks to end the seven-year conflict in that country ...
U.S. commanders in Afghanistan have asked for an additional 15,000 troops but the call has gone unanswered, with the United States short on troops and NATO countries not interested in contributing more personnel. "At the end of the day, that's how most wars end," Gates said ...
"There has to be ultimately -- and I'll underscore ultimately -- reconciliation as part of a political outcome to this," he said ...
The reconciliation would have to be on the Afghan government's terms, and the Taliban would have to subject itself to the sovereignty of the government, he added ...
"That's ultimately the exit strategy for all of us," Gates said.
Iran backs Pakistan pipeline deal sans India: Tehran Times
ISLAMABAD (AP/APP) -- Iran says it is willing to build a pipeline to export natural gas to Pakistan even if India delays joining the multibillion-dollar project opposed by the U.S.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced the offer Friday during a visit to Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Both countries said India would be welcome to join the $7.5 billion project at a later stage ...
Mottaki ... termed the stability and security of Pakistan as stability and security of Iran.
Mottaki also agreed with the Prime Minister on the need for expansion of relations in political, trade, investment, culture and other fields.
Referring to President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent meeting with President Ahmedinejad in New York, he recalled that President Zardari had extended an invitation to his Iranian counterpart to visit Pakistan and hoped the visit will soon materialize.
Iranian Foreign Minister extended invitation of Iranian President and Senior Vice President to the Prime Minister to visit Iran. The Prime Minister accepted the invitation and informed him that time frame of the visit will be decided through diplomatic channels.
Earlier, Pakistan requested Iran to help to meet its growing energy crisis by giving oil on deferred payment. The request was made by Foreign Minister Qureshi during his talks with the visiting Foreign Minister ... Talking to newsmen jointly after the meeting, Qureshi said Iran has already a system of three month deferred payment but Pakistan has requested to increase this time period ... Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan has also interested to buy additional 1000 MW electricity from Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, “We condemn terrorist activities that took place in the last several weeks in Pakistan, targeting stability of our neighboring country Pakistan.” ... The Iranian Foreign Minister however said efforts should be made to consider root cause of such terrorist attacks and other happenings based on the war against terror.
Referring to the importance of 1000 km border between Pakistan and Iran, the Foreign Minister said, “We have to protect it, because of projects like IPI, road and railway links.” ... “We will not allow any person or group of any other name to violate this border to suffer the people of both sides of border.”
Foreign Minister Mottaki termed the stability and security of Pakistan as stability and security of Iran.
Iran stepping into the picture. Correct timing to shift balance in Afghanistan with both USA and Pakistan on the back foot. USA because of non-cooperation of European Nato allies coupled with economic meltdown, and Pakistan because of domestic warfare and loss of fiscal resources.
One thousand megawatts of electricity plus deferred payment oil (actually free because it will never be asked to be paid for as in the Saudi Oil Facility from 1998-2004) will allay some public pressure.
Pakistan has always has had a cow to milk.
First it was the cold war of Lyndon B. Johnson when he gave a Ford truck publicly to replace Bashir Sarban's camel cart, then the Soviet-Afghan war of Bush Sr. and Clinton, then WOT of G.W. Bush, and now Iran. (China in the background? Chinese never show their cards).
So Pakistan will be OK. It won't go bankrupt. It's just too important Geo-strategically for others - plus with nuclear weapons, and an unmatched asymmetrical undeclared war apparatus which no other country has, it will always have foreign cows to milk with these assets. Pakistan is used to doing nothing on its own. It doesn't need to.
It will only eventually do something on its own. What that is? Only time will tell.