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‘Terrorism affecting Afghanistan is product of Pakistan’s policy,’ says Afghan foreign minister at UN Security Council

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Afghanistan today didn’t mince words in declaring at the UN that terror in Afghanistan is the “product of (a) long-standing policy” of Pakistan.

Afghanistan also said that that terror’s “roots are located in terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens outside” its borders.

With its unequivocal declarations, Afghanistan today joined US President Donald Trump, the BRICS countries, Japan and India in naming and shaming Pakistan, a country many have come to call a “terrorist state”.

“The scourge of terrorism affecting Afghanistan is (a) product of (the) long-standing policy by a neighbouring State to keep Afghanistan unstable,” said Afghan foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani at no less a forum than the UN Security Council (UNSC).

The minister further said – at the UNSC’s open debate on Afghanistan – that while Afghanistan has tried to resolve issues with Pakistan, the latter hasn’t responded positively.

“Despite being on (the) receiving-end of provocative actions, we have maintained a principled position in seeking to resolve differences through dialogue, diplomacy and peaceful means…Pakistan has so far failed to respond positively at its own cost, particularly in relation to its global reputation and standing,” added the Afghan foreign minister.

Rabbani’s comments came a little over a month after Trump outlined his administration’s strategy for Afghanistan where the US has been involved in a long drawn out conflict, since 9/11/2001.

In a rare prime-time address to the nation, that showed how serious the US-Afghan situation is, Trump flat out said Pakistan is a major cause of continued terrorism in Afghanistan, no thanks to the terror safe havens it harbours. This, he said, is hampering peace efforts in Afghanistan.

Trump was referring to the Haqqani Network and the Taliban, which multiple reports – from credible organisations across the geopolitical divide – have said are getting support from the Pakistani government. Both these groups are said to regularly carry out terror attacks in Afghanistan, killing army personnel – including US troops – and civilians.

The US President berated Pakistan in his Afghan policy speech for having “sheltered the same organisations that try every single day to kill our people”. He also threatened to cut off funding to Pakistan if it continues to provide “safe havens for agents of chaos, violence and terror.”

Trump’s unequivocal condemnation of Pakistan was met with a sigh of relief by Afghanistan. Kabul has been telling Washington for years about Pakistan’s role in terror in Afghanistan.

Today, Afghanistan’s foreign minister mentioned Trump’s Afghan policy. He said the new US strategy for Afghanistan has generated new hope among people across his country.

“We welcome the fact that the new strategy recognizes the critical need to address the lingering problem of terrorist safe-havens and sanctuaries in our region; and for more determined efforts to end political, logistical and financial support enjoyed by terrorist groups,” said Afghanistan’s Rabbani.

In fact, Afghanistan is getting diplomatic support from more and more countries – except for from China – that are coming out openly against Pakistan-based terror. Earlier this month, India convinced Japan to condemn Pakistan-based terror groups Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) in an India-Japan joint statement. The 2008 Mumbai terror attacks were carried out by LeT operatives. And the JeM’s Masood Azhar was the mastermind of last year’s terror attack in Pathankot.

India also got other BRICS countries to name these groups at a summit in China earlier this month. The BRICS statement, called the ‘Xiamen Declaration’, mentioned the Taliban, al-Qaida and the Haqqani Network, in addition to the LeT and the JeM. (TIMES OF INDIA)