Pak-Afghan dialogue needed to move forward: Holbrooke

Last Updated 26 July 2010, 06:45 IST

''In fact, (the Pak) General (Ashfaq Pervez) Kayani and (the Afghanistan) President (Hamid) Karzai, as you just said, have begun to have a dialogue. That is a good thing, not a bad thing,'' Holbrooke told CNN in an interview.

"As long as they had no dialogue, you couldn't get anywhere. The previous administration in Washington made no successful efforts at this," he said.

He said the American commanding general of ISAF and NATO representatives, along with General McChrystal, were also present during the Kayani-Karzai meeting.

"I'm sure General Petraeus will continue to play the same role, if not more so. I've talked to David (Petraeus) about that," Holbrooke said.

He said these efforts were part of the Obama administration's policy of bringing Afghanistan and Pakistan closer and enable them to work together, and at the same time not to harm India's strategic interests in the country.

India has been a major contributor in the rebuilding programmes in post-war Afghanistan, but Pakistan has resented India's growing involvement in the country.

"We have a policy here which is to try to reduce the gap between Islamabad and Kabul, a historic gap which goes back to the independence of Pakistan 63 years ago, and to make them work together for a common objective while taking into account the strategic interests of India and other regional neighbours," he said.

"It's a tough, difficult policy, but it is the only one that meets our regional and international, national security interests," Holbrooke said.

He pointed out that among the Taliban leadership, some people were reconcilable, but some were not.

"The United States has had no direct contact with any of the Taliban leadership, but we read constantly, we hear constantly of other groups in touch. We support a policy in which the Afghan government of President Karzai takes the lead," Holbrooke said.

(Published 26 July 2010, 06:45 IST)

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