Saturday, August 07, 2021
Pakistan debunked Friday Afghan and Indian allegations about the existence of safe havens and cross-border movement of Taliban fighters as "mere fantasies", saying that the Pakistani government has fenced the Pak-Afghan border which is now closed.
At a press conference hours after the UN Security Council meeting, Ambassador Munir Akram, Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations, also criticised India, the council president for the month of August, for denying Pakistan the opportunity to address the 15-member body as a neighbouring country with a vital stake in peace in Afghanistan.
"We made a formal request for participation but it was denied," he told reporters at the UN Headquarters in New York. "Obviously, we do not expect fairness from the Indian presidency for Pakistan."
Akram said not inviting Pakistan to the UNSC meeting on Afghanistan violated Security Council rules.
Pakistan's complete statement will be will be circulated to the UNSC members, the Pakistani envoy said.
He said there were no terrorist safe havens left after Pakistani military's effective operations in Waziristan and other areas, and that the fencing of the border was now 97% complete to prevent cross-border movement.
Ambassador Akram also slammed regional “spoilers” who he said were attempting to derail the Afghan peace process.
He warned against spoilers, "both within and outside Afghanistan” against their machinations to promote their vested interests.
Ambassador Akram said that Pakistan was suffering from a spate of attacks from Tehreek-i-Pakistan and Da'esh terrorists from the Afghan territory. "So, the shoe is on the other foot."
The Pakistani envoy said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had consistently called for a political solution as the only way to restore durable peace and security in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan therefore welcomed the international consensus which has emerged that the best means of securing peace and stability is through a political solution negotiated between parties to the conflict," he said.
Pakistan has made earnest efforts to promote such a political settlement, Ambassador Akram said, pointing out that in 2015, a political settlement was scuttled by the deliberate revelation of the demise of the then Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
Pakistan, he said, was instrumental in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table in 2019, and facilitated the conclusion of the US-Taliban agreement of February 2020.
"We helped convene the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha in September 2020," he said while highlighting Pakistan's role in the peace process.
Pakistan should help Afghanistan in "dismantling" the Taliban for peace to prosper in the war-torn country, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations Ghulam M Isaczai had said Friday.
The Afghan ambassador's comments came during an open meeting of the UNSC on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.
The discussion was requested by the Afghan government, as well as Norway and Estonia. The Security Council last met on Afghanistan in June, but the situation in the conflict-ridden country has rapidly worsened since then.
Peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban negotiators started last year in the Qatari capital of Doha, but have not made any substantive progress.
Isaczai, who represented Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar in the meeting, said the Taliban had launched brutal attacks which had caused further instability in the country.
"It is our job to stop it."
In recent days, the Taliban and their affiliated groups have launched more than 5,000 attacks in 31 of the 34 provinces, Isaczai said, slamming the group for going against the Doha peace deal.
The ambassador said the group had gone against the peace deal by not cutting off ties with international terrorist organisations.
"And their ties cannot be broken off," he alleged.
"Those who indulge and participate with them also reap the benefits," he said, adding the Taliban were "linked to 20 foreign terrorist organisations".
The Taliban are in contact with Al-Qaeda, Daesh, and Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan's militant organisations, the Afghan representative told the UNSC meeting.
"We request Pakistan to dismantle Taliban infrastructure and pipelines," Isaczai said, noting that Taliban attacks are intensifying with every passing day.
Afghanistan's UN envoy Isaczai urged the Security Council to act to "prevent a catastrophic situation."
US really messed it up in Afghanistan: Imran Khan
Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan, during an appearance on PBS News Hour, an American news programme, had said: "I think the US has really messed it up in Afghanistan."
PM Imran Khan had said there is no military solution to the Afghan issue but the US kept trying to "look for a military solution in Afghanistan, when there never was one".
"And people like me who kept saying that there's no military solution, who know the history of Afghanistan, we were called anti-American. I was called Taliban Khan."
The premier said the Americans should have sought a political settlement with the Taliban at a time when they had a considerable military presence in Afghanistan.
But, now, after most of the US and allied forces have already withdrawn from the country, the Taliban, considering it their victory, are in no mood to reconcile, he said.
"But once they had reduced the troops to barely 10,000, and then, when they gave an exit date, the Taliban thought they had won. And so, therefore, it was very difficult for now to get them to compromise," he told programme host Judy Woodruff.
On July 28, PM Imran Khan, while answering questions by journalists from Afghanistan, said a political compromise between the Afghan government and the Taliban to form an inclusive government was the only solution to achieve peace.
“We do not have any favourites in Afghanistan. Our policy is that whoever the people of Afghanistan choose, Pakistan will have the best relationship with them,” the prime minister had said.
He had termed as unfortunate the recent statements from the Afghan government officials accusing Pakistan of supporting the Taliban.
“No country has ever tried harder than Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the dialogue table — first with the Americans and then with the Afghan government,” he said, and mentioned that the efforts were also acknowledged by US Special Representative Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.