ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Sunday told Afghanistan that the “hateful campaign” will not help peace efforts.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz rejected baseless allegations against Pakistan after the Kabul terrorist attack.

In a statement issued here, Aziz said that the hateful campaign being launched by the detractors was unhelpful and detrimental to the close harmony and cooperation required for pursuing joint efforts for a lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Strongly rejecting the baseless and unfounded allegations, the adviser said that following the brutal terrorist attack in Kabul on May 31, "we have witnessed with serious concern baseless accusations against Pakistan by certain elements inside and outside Afghanistan, made within minutes of the attack and obviously before any investigation."

Aziz said: “This accusatory approach is instigated by those who have no interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan and their malicious agenda is to damage Afghanistan-Pakistan relations and the cooperation initiatives recently gaining momentum.”

He said that Pakistan had condemned the Kabul terrorist attack in strongest terms.

"Being a victim of terrorism, we feel the pain and agony of the Afghan people," the adviser said.

Afghanistan, he said, faces serious internal challenges including growing violence caused by the insurgency, expanding foothold of Daesh and other terrorist groups exploiting the country’s ungoverned spaces.

He said that increasing drug production and trafficking provided financial support for sustaining terrorism and militancy.

“Combating these huge challenges requires strengthening of its security network. Levelling allegations against other countries only signifies a tendency to externalise the internal challenges faced by Afghanistan,” Aziz underlined.

He emphasised that Afghan authorities should undertake a transparent investigation into the incident in order to make a determination about the perpetrators of the attack based on concrete evidence. Pakistan supports any such investigation.

“We, in Pakistan, are convinced that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan. Pakistan has, therefore, continued to reaffirm its strong support to the efforts for a durable peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Aziz said.

He said that Pakistan’s human and financial sacrifices in fighting the menace of terrorism have been widely recognised.

He said that the international community had also appreciated the remarkable success of our counter-terrorism efforts which have effectively targeted terrorists without any discrimination.

“The results of our effective counter-terrorism campaign are visible in a peaceful domestic environment,” he underscored.

The adviser underlined that strong bonds of religion, culture, history and geography bind the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Pakistan has always stood by the people of Afghanistan in their difficult times. For the past four decades, millions of our Afghan brothers, facing unstable conditions in Afghanistan, have lived in Pakistan with dignity and honour," he said.

Pakistan, he said, had also been making an important contribution in assisting Afghanistan in vital social and economic areas.

"Millions of Afghan children have received education in Pakistan. Thousands of them are working in Afghanistan for their country’s progress and development. Pakistan facilitates Afghanistan’s transit of its exports and imports through our ports. As Afghanistan’s friend and neighbour, we have also made serious efforts to facilitate an Afghan-led Afghan-owned peace process," he said.

Aziz said that Pakistan remained committed to extending all possible assistance to Afghanistan and its government of national unity in combating these complex and formidable challenges.

“We believe that cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan is in the mutual interest of our two countries and peoples,” Aziz said.


APP adds from New York: Afghanistan should turn its attention to reversing the deteriorating security situation in the country instead of blaming Pakistan, a top Pakistani diplomat has said.

"We are ready to help address the shared threat of violent extremists to the region but for that, Afghanistan should desist from externalising its internal problems," Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, said in response to questions during an interview with Voice of America (VOA).

"The surge in violence (in Afghanistan) seems to indicate the spreading influence of ISIS about which we have long warned," the Pakistani envoy pointed out.

"The ability of violent groups to infiltrate Kabul's green zone also suggests insider connections which are even more worrying," Maleeha Lodhi said, referring to a truck explosion on Wednesday that reportedly killed nearly 100 people and wounded hundreds of others near the Presidential palace and foreign Embassies.

Recalling that Pakistan had strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, she said, "The rapid slide in the security situation is troubling not only for Afghanistan but for all its neighbours, especially Pakistan."

Those attacks, she said, also seemed to be aimed at scuttling plans for initiating a renewed peace and reconciliation effort by elements opposed to the process.

"But whoever may be responsible for the latest spate of brutal attacks, the Afghan government would do better to focus on this growing threat rather than hurl baseless accusations against Pakistan," Maleeha Lodhi said.

"The timing of the attacks on Kabul suggests those who carried them out want to sabotage any renewed effort towards a negotiated peace."

She added, "Terrorism and violent extremism are a common enemy and need a joint resolve to fight it."

Meanwhile, the UN envoy to Afghanistan called for measures to halt the cycle of violence following Wednesday's deadly attack.

“I urge everyone not to respond to violence with more violence,” Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, said referring to Saturday's attack, which reportedly killed at least seven people and wounded dozens of others attending a funeral in the Afghan capital. 

Yamamoto underscored that the incident “follows so much violence this week across the country, in Khost, in Kabul and in other provinces.” 

“Meaningful steps must take place now to obtain an immediate, nationwide halt to violence. I encourage all parties to enter discussions toward that end. The United Nations stands ready to help,” the envoy said. He also urged all members of the international community to help put an end the cycle of violence and support the foundations of a lasting peace. The upcoming Kabul meeting on regional peace and security provides an immediate opportunity in that regard, he added.