In quite an unexpected move, Islamabad got rare support from Turkey, a member-country of the NATO, on the blockade of land route for the allied forces and seeking an apology from the US government over the Salala check-post attack that killed 24 Pakistani troops.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday endorsed Pakistan’s stance, saying that they honored its decision and demand for an apology from the US over the killing of its soldiers.
The Turkish premier after signing agreements for cooperation in diverse fields observed, “As a member of NATO, Turkey believes that such issues should be resolved through mutual dialogue”.
Replying to a query about his country would stay in Afghanistan until 2012, Erdogan said Turkey was committed to return of peace and stability to Afghanistan and would be last one to withdraw its troops from the troubled region.
Presently, Turkey has over 1,300 troops in Afghanistan and is one of the largest contributors among the 50 countries that comprise the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
The Turkish premier was of the opinion that there were different views about the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, as France wanted an immediate pullout while Germany called for a joint gradual pullout.
In his view, the withdrawal could be delayed and vowed to work along with the Afghan brothers in rebuilding their nation. He said it was also supportive of the new US initiative of $2 billion assistance to help Afghanistan stand on its own feet.
On the occasion, his Pakistani counterpart Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani informed the media the final decision to resume NATO supplies and its timing would be taken with consultation of all stakeholders.
He clarified, “Pakistan wishes to move along with the world. We wish to make it clear that Pakistan is part of the solution, not the problem for Afghanistan”.
Reiterating Pakistan’s stance for a stable, sovereign, prosperous and independent Afghanistan, Gilani said that they were looking a political solution that was Afghan-led and Afghan owned.
The Pakistani prime minister commended support rendered by Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Pakistan at the May 20 NATO summit in Chicago. The world must have recognition of the services rendered by Pakistan in its fight against terrorism, he added.