by Abdul Haleem
KABUL, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The three-day visit to Islamabad of Afghan chief peace negotiator Salahudin Rabbani which ended Wednesday was aimed at seeking Pakistan's support in bringing the Taliban militants to the negotiating table but analysts here are pessimistic about the outcome of the visit.
Analysts said the visit, which came about after months of suspension, would have no impact on the Taliban hardliners who have continued to attack the Karzai government for allowing some 100,000 NATO-led forces, some 68,000 of them Americans, to remain in the country.
"The gap between Taliban and the government is too wide to narrow,"Faizullah Jalal, Kabul University professor and political analyst, told Xinhua in an interview.
Jalal said that the fundamentalist Taliban do not accept the new constitution of Afghanistan and branded the government in Kabul as a puppet regime. "That's why the prospects of peace with the Taliban seem bleak," he said.
The Afghan peace delegation's visit to Pakistan coincided with President Hamid Karzai's tour to India, the arch-rival of Pakistan.
There were reports that Karzai reportedly accused Pakistan of backing the Taliban terrorists which understandably had upset Islamabad.
"President Karzai, during his stay in India, said that the sanctuaries of terrorists are in Pakistan. These remarks have displeased Islamabad,"Jalal said.
In order to keep Afghanistan's relations with both Islamabad and New Delhi on an equal footing, Karzai dispatched the peace delegation to Pakistan.
Afghan officials are of the view that Taliban leadership is based in Quetta city of Pakistan and enjoying the support of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), a claim which has been strongly denied by Islamabad.
Trading accusations between Kabul and Islamabad have strained the relations between the two neighboring states. The Afghan government has said that cross-border terrorism is the main cause of instability in Afghanistan, while Islamabad has claimed that Taliban militants have been using Afghan soil to create law and order problems in Pakistan.
Before his departure for Pakistan, Rabbani told newsmen that he hoped his visit to Islamabad would help bring about change in Islamabad's stance vis--vis peace efforts in Afghanistan.
Just a day later of Rabbani's departure, four rockets reportedly fired by Taliban militants slammed into Kabul city leaving one dead and three others injured.
"Firing rockets into Kabul on Tuesday morning is in fact the reaction of Taliban to peace efforts and I think Pakistan will not encourage Taliban to hold direct dialogue with the peace delegation," Jalal said.
Karzai has repeatedly offered peace talks with the Taliban militants over the past couple of years but the Taliban has categorically rejected the peace overtures, saying that there will be no talks in the presence of foreign troops in the country, a condition unacceptable to both Kabul and Washington at the moment.
In spite of desperate efforts by Afghan government to approach the Taliban and mounting military pressure by Afghan and NATO-led troops over the past couple of years, no key commander or top political leader of Taliban, except some few foot soldiers, has switched side to join the government in Kabul.
Public opinion leaders in Afghanistan are also pessimistic about the outcome of the peace feelers by the Afghan delegation in Islamabad.
"Unilateral efforts for peace will not deliver unless and until the Taliban accept the Afghan constitution and begin negotiation with the government," legislator Mohammad Yunus Qanooni has stressed.