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IS, an offshoot of Taliban

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The US envoy has confided that the claim that the United States is behind the creation of Islamic State group is bogus; and that Ghani’s peace quest may counter-intuitively unexpectedly culminate in ultimate peace;

By Sayed Seddiq Hussainy-KABUL: A senior US envoy to Afghanistan has reassured the White House’s continuous support to the Afghan government to fight Taliban and IS militancy. The US ambassador to Afghanistan, John Bass, has also announced long-term support for elections, Afghan government’s peace quest and anti-corruption effort.

Declining speculations that the United States is behind the creation of the Islamic State group, the US ambassador said that it was a widely accepted belief that most of Daesh combatants are in fact former Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan fighters – who changed their dogma and started contemplating having to expand their quasi Islamic State beyond Syria and Iraq.

Bass reiterated his government’s continuous support to the Afghan security forces to suppress IS militants. “No one had to bring those people here, no one had to provide them weapons, they already had them, and they were already fighting. They just chose to fight under a new brand, something abhorring we have seen globally,” added Bass.

Regarding a recent President Ghani’s peace proposition to Taliban, Bass said that the US was committed to providing security and peace to Afghans and that Ghani’s peace quest may counter-intuitively culminate into something unexpectedly pleasing. “We have seen, during Tashkent Conference, some leading countries and organizations support President Ghani’s historic peace offer to bring the conflict to a close. We want all of you to create a future in which everyone in this country can live in peace, freedom and dignity,” said the ambassador.

But the fact that Taliban continues to refuse to acknowledge the current government legitimate cannot be downplayed, he asserted, “Although there is a de jure worldwide recognition of the Afghan government – which is indigenously upheld as a de jure government too.”

Talking among senior Afghan print media editors in an on-the-record roundtable, Bass warned that if the Taliban chooses to continue to fight, “we will continue to support the Afghan government in its effort to fight back militants and ensure security for the Afghan people”.

Regarding elections, he said the US government supported the Independent Election Commission in preparations for the upcoming parliamentary as well as presidential vote. He also reiterated the US commitment to help the Afghan government fight against corruption.

Replying a question posed by Mansoor Faizy, Editor-in-Chief of Afghanistan Times Daily, he said the US administration was pressuring Pakistan to stop harboring and feting militant groups. “It is the foundation of our strategy that we believe it is important to address the factors either in or related to Pakistan fueling the conflict here in Afghanistan. We have a strong position against Pakistan as part of the South Asian strategy—I would say at this point we continue to engage the Pakistani government to co-operate with the Afghan government in addressing challenges,” he said.

Bass also confided that the White House has taken certain measures to make sure the Pakistan understands gravity of the situation and “how serious we are”. He warned of a prolonged pressure on Pakistan unless the Pakistani government extends sufficient cooperation.

He said militancy has taken toll on the Afghan populations. “All attacks are terrible, but the one in Dasht-e Barchi is particularly awful because it targeted a group of people who were seeking to exercise their franchise as citizens to register as voter so they can have their voices heard,” he said. He also extended condolences on behalf of his government to families of victims of recent violent attacks.