Afghan peace only through talks, Pakistan tells UNSC

UNITED NATIONS –  Pakistan has told the UN Security Council that peace in Afghanistan could not be restored by the continuing resort to military force and neither Kabul and the Nato coalition, nor the Afghan Taliban, could impose a military solution on each other.

“The promotion of a political settlement and the pursuit of a military solution are mutually incompatible. You cannot kill and talk at the same time,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, told the UN Security Council in an open debate on the situation in Afghanistan.

“Another resort to the military option will not produce a result different from the past. It will not break the impasse much less yield a political solution”, she said, while urging the Taliban to give up violence and stressing that the other side, too, must display a genuine desire for dialogue.

Ambassador Lodhi said the war, violence and terrorism afflicting Afghanistan were the consequences of foreign military interventions, occupation and imposed war.

Sustainable peace in Afghanistan, Ambassador Lodhi said, was only achievable through a negotiated end to the war, a course long advocated by Pakistan.

She said 16 years of war, waged by the world’s most powerful forces against an insurgency of irregulars, had not yielded any solution. “This failure cannot be explained away by alleging the existence of safe havens for the insurgency across the border,” she said.

Denying allegations about the presence of any terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, she said such enclaves do exist in areas of Afghanistan that were not under the government’s control. “There are no such safe havens (in Pakistan),” she said

“The only havens that exist for the insurgents and for Daesh and other terrorists are within the 40 percent of Afghan territory, which is outside the control of the Afghan government,” she added.

“Apart from the conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban-led insurgency, a new and vicious threat has emerged in Afghanistan: the presence of a conglomerate of terrorists from various parts of the world: the TIP, ETIM; IMU and other groups which have all now adopted the umbrella of Daesh,” the Pakistani envoy said.

“These terrorists are now located in the 40 per cent of Afghan territory which, according to a recent US Pentagon report is either out of Kabul’s control or is contested. It appears that Daesh’s ‘core’, under pressure in Iraq and Syria, may be relocating to these ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan,” she added.

Observing that securing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and preventing cross border terrorism was essential for both the countries Ambassador Lodhi said this could be achieved only through constant vigilance, effective management and real-time communication. “Terrorists should not be allowed to provoke clashes between our border security forces.”

The peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan were bound by mutual interdependence and other ties, she said, noting that approximately 3 million Afghans still resided in Pakistan.

To strengthen bilateral relations, Pakistan had, in November, proposed a comprehensive Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Solidarity. “This action plan aims to promote constructive and meaningful bilateral engagement through establishment of working groups on political, economic, military, intelligence and refugee issues.”


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