Tuesday Dec 26 2017

Pakistan asks US to ensure return of Afghan refugees

Khawaja Asif speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood/Files

ISLAMABAD: Minister of Foreign Affairs Khawaja Asif on Monday demanded the United States to ensure the return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan.

Pakistan had launched a fencing to secure its border with Afghanistan, he said in an interview with a private news channel, as it was imperative to combat terrorism.

Afghanistan should focus on the "border management" and fulfill its responsibility in that regard, he added.

Expressing serious concerns over the situation in the neighbouring country, Asif said the allied forces — equipped with modern weapons and thousands of soldiers — could not establish peace in Afghanistan.

According to the information and reports, groups of Daesh extremists were operating in eight to nine provinces of Afghanistan, the minister explained, adding that these outfits were also active in vast areas of the neighbouring state.

Expressing dismay over the peace situation in Afghanistan, he said a huge part was not under the control of Afghan government.

Pakistan had extended a lot of cooperation with the US on different occasions in the past, he said, noting, however, that it had to face huge losses instead of receiving benefits.

Some foreign forces did not want to see Pakistan as a powerful state but the nation could not be intimated with external threats, the foreign minister commented, saying the country's armed forces were fully capable to defend the motherland.

On the other hand, Asif mentioned that nearly 9,000 tonnes of opium was being cultivated in Afghanistan and that it was strange that a huge cache of narcotics — amounting to nearly $150 billion — was being smuggled in the presence of allied forces.

While the US had failed to establish peace in Afghanistan, Asif said it was blaming Pakistan after its failure.

Pakistan had asked the US to provide actionable information but no such intel was provided.

In response to a question regarding the Kulbhushan Jadhav's meeting with his family, he said, "On humanitarian grounds, Pakistan had given permission."