Pakistan offers to train Afghan security forces

Army head Kayani said Pakistan was offering to help train Afghanistan's security forces but he warned it would take years before they would be in a position.

Pakistan offers to train Afghan security forces

Pakistan offered on Monday to train Afghanistan's security forces.

The United States and Afghanistan's other Western allies want Afghan forces to take over security responsibilities as a vital step toward the eventual withdrawal of foreign soldiers.

Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani said Pakistan was offering to help train Afghanistan's security forces but he warned it would take years before they would be in a position to take over from foreign forces.

"If we get more involved with the ANA (Afghan National Army) there's more interaction and better understanding," Kayani told reporters at his headquarters in Rawalpindi.

"We have opened all doors ... It's a win-win for Afghanistan, the United States, ISAF and Pakistan," he said, referring to NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

He said he believed it would take at least four years to achieve a target of a 140,000-strong Afghan force able to take over security responsibilities.

Afghanistan is not likely to jump at the Pakistani offer.

While Afghanistan is wary of Pakistan, Islamabad is deeply suspicious of the close ties India has built with the U.S.-backed government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Kayani said Pakistan just wanted a friendly Afghanistan.

"'Strategic depth' does not imply controlling Afghanistan," he said. "If Afghanistan is peaceful, stable and friendly we have our strategic depth because our western border is secure ... You're not looking both ways."

Kayani did not comment on the possibility of Pakistan using its links with the Afghan Taliban to push them towards peace talks. Pakistan has shown support for an invitation that Karzai issued last week for the Taliban to take part in a peace council.

But Kayani stressed the importance of public backing of anti-insurgent operations in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Referring to a U.S.-backed Afghan plan to lure lower-level Taliban out of the insurgency, Kayani said a vital factor was the public perception of who was going to prevail.

"They sit on the crossroads, waiting to see who is winning and losing," he said.

Reuters

Last Mod: 02 Şubat 2010, 09:29
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