ISLAMABAD -  Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua Thursday said that Afghanistan had become a hub of militants and terrorists.

Speaking at the two-day international conference on Afghan peace here, she said the rise of Daesh in Afghanistan was a threat to regional peace. She said Pakistan supported all efforts for Afghanistan peace.

She said Jamaatul Ahrar and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had safe havens in Afghanistan.

This month Pakistan and Afghanistan entered a new phase of tension after Afghan forces violated the border, killing and wounding several Pakistanis. Amid the Afghan attack, Pakistan warned that it reserved the right to respond to preserve its sovereignty and protect its civilians.

To respond to any further aggression by the Afghan forces, Pakistan army was on high alert. Tanks and heavy artillery were moved forward. To accommodate the displaced persons, camps were installed five kilometers away from the border. Authorities said as many as 2,000 families had been affected by Afghan shelling at the civilian areas.

As the tensions flared up, Defence Minister Khawaja Mohamed Asif warned Pakistan will give a befitting reply to all acts of aggression. “If our borders are violated and further destruction occurs then those responsible will have to pay the price,” he said last day. The minister said New Delhi-Kabul nexus was apparent on the Afghan border.

Tehmina Janjua said there was an issue of governance in some provinces of Afghanistan. “Peace in Afghanistan is our priority because it will ensure peace in Pakistan. We know there is no military solution to the Afghanistan issue. We have to deal with it politically,” she said.

She said the extremists needed to be brought to the mainstream to ensure long-lasting peace.

She said Pakistan was sincere in promoting peace in Afghanistan and was part of the global efforts to achieve the goal.

She said the focus of regional stakeholders should be on facilitating an inclusive reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

She noted that the Quadrilateral Coordination Group would have to collectively decide how to deal with elements refusing to join the peace process.

She emphasised Pakistan continued to play a consultative role in Afghan reconciliation process under the principle of shared responsibility.

She said in the past 15 years, an exclusively military approach had not worked in Afghanistan. “It is important, therefore, to keep the process on track and prevent attempts by spoilers to derail the process,” she added.

The foreign secretary said Pakistan wanted peace with all neighbours. She said instability in Afghanistan directly affected Pakistan.

She said Pakistan was facilitating million of Afghan refugees for years and thousands of Afghan students were studying in Pakistan.

She said Pakistan had also provided scholarships to more than 3000 Afghan students for their education.

PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN ESSENTIAL FOR ENTIRE REGION, SAYS AIZAZ

Agencies add: Pakistan’s Ambassador to US Aizaz Chaudhry has said that Pakistan is determined to root out all kinds of terrorism and will not let its soil be used to stage attacks against any country. Pakistan’s envoy to the US was speaking in Washington on Wednesday to a six-member delegation of US journalists who are scheduled to visit Pakistan soon.

On the occasion, Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry briefed the US journalists from various media organisations about the tremendous sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and the tangible results achieved on ground.

Aizaz Chaudhry explained that peace in Afghanistan is directly linked to peace in the region, stating that Pakistan is willing to work with the relevant stakeholders to bring peace to the country.

“Pakistan has made tremendous sacrifices in the war against terror,” he said, adding, that the Pak-Afghan border area was cleared of terrorists as part of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

“Terrorism had an adverse impact on Pakistan’s economy,” he stated, adding, that, “now, however, foreign investors, including those from the US, are heading towards Pakistan for investment purposes.”

While responding to a question on Afghanistan, Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry remarked that peace in Afghanistan is imperative for the peace in the entire region. “History bears testimony to the fact that instability in Afghanistan always has a spillover effect in other countries of the region particularly Pakistan. Pakistan will actively take part along with other partners in finding out a political solution of the Afghan issue,” he stressed.

Aizaz Chaudhry said that perceptions about Pakistan are trailing behind and there is a need to look at Pakistan with a fresh perspective.

“Pakistan has made tremendous progress on security and economic fronts and is on the path of sustainable economic development”, he added.

Commenting on Pakistan-US bilateral relations, he said that both Pakistan and US by working together for decades, have benefitted and we believe that Pakistan and US should continue working together in future as well.

He greatly appreciated the efforts of International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) in organising Journalist exchange programmes, sponsored by the US State Department.

Such exchange initiatives promote harmony and better understanding about different cultures and faiths and bring people from both the countries closer to each other, he concluded.