ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has told the United States that Afghanistan was not helping peace efforts by ignoring frequent cross-border attacks on Pakistani military check-posts, sources said.
Senior officials at the Foreign Ministry told The Nation that Washington was being regularly briefed on the unending cross-border strikes, which were detrimental to the peace efforts.
“[The] US has been told that while Pakistan was supporting global efforts for peace in Afghanistan, the other side [Kabul] is showing little interest in stopping the terrorists who are continuously targeting Pakistani check-posts. This is not helpful at all,” a foreign ministry official said.
In the past weeks, Pakistan summoned Afghan diplomats and also contacted the Afghan government to register protest against Afghanistan-based terrorists’ attacks.
Although the Pakistan forces killed many of the attackers, there were causalities on the Pakistani side as well.
Islamabad has been urging Afghanistan to act seriously against the terrorists hiding on its soil to support the peace efforts and defuse tension.
Last week, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan was committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan, stressing that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s interest.
He emphasised the need of comprehensive bilateral engagement between the two countries to strengthen trust and confidence.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan desired Afghan-led peace in the neighbouring country.
“We also expect them to work for peace and help our efforts,” he said.
Zakaria said that Pakistan had protested against the cross-border attacks but there had been no effective control by Kabul.
Another foreign ministry official said that Washington had been pressing Pakistan and Afghanistan for peace talks but Kabul’s silence on cross-border terror had put Pakistan in a difficult position.
“We have told the US that we want peace talks and support all global efforts for peace in Afghanistan. However, Afghanistan should back our efforts instead of playing in the hands of anti-Pakistan elements. They should not test our patience,” he added.
The official said that the US had promised to use its influence in Kabul to stop the Afghanistan-based terrorists from targeting Pakistan.
“They [the US] understand this will not be helpful. If the cross-border terror continues, peace talks can’t be successful,” the official said, citing contacts with Washington.
Over the weekend, new Pakistan Ambassador to the US Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said that Pakistan wanted to improve ties with the US.
“I will work to strengthen friendship with the US. We have a long history of bilateral ties,” he added.
Former ambassador Mushtaq Mehar said that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was playing in the hands of anti-Pakistan elements.
He said that the Indian intelligence agencies were supporting the Afghanistan-based terrorists to carry attacks inside Pakistan.
“Afghanistan is not showing sincerity in stopping these terrorists. Afghanistan is neither accepting refugees [who have been living in Pakistan for decades] nor it is happy with border fencing. There has to be a solution,” Mehar said.
He said that around 30 per cent of the Afghanistan was under Taliban control.
“Afghanistan direly needs Pakistan’s support but is not ready to improve ties which is strange,” Mehar added.
International affairs expert A Z Hilali said that Afghanistan had turned a deaf ear to Pakistan’s calls for joint war against terrorism.
“For almost a decade. We have been telling them, we both have to work together to defeat them. They don’t seem ready to listen,” he said.
Hilali said Pakistan was a major victim of terrorism since 2001 and had offered massive sacrifices in the war on terror.
“Over the years, Pakistan has offered military, political and moral support to Afghanistan against terrorism. They should acknowledge our dedication for the cause of regional and global peace,” he maintained.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 20-Mar-2017 here.