Diplomacy failed to stop cross-border attacks: FM
KABUL (PAN): Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul on Wednesday told the lower house of parliament that efforts to stop cross-border attacks from Pakistan through diplomatic channels have not been fruitful.
Rassoul, who was summoned by the Wolesi Jirga along with National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief Rahmatullah Nabil, called for a national stand on the incursions if further diplomatic efforts did not produce the required results.
Over the past one year, Pakistan has fired hundreds of rockets, missiles and artillery shells into eastern Kunar and Nuristan provinces, inflicting casualties on residents and damaging their property.
Islamabad has not yet come up with a clear statement on the issue, but says there have also been attacks from the Afghan side. It says the subject has been taken up with Afghan and NATO officials.
Briefing lawmakers, Rassoul said the first round of talks with Pakistan on the ticklish issue had concluded. Pakistan’s ambassador was repeatedly called to the foreign ministry and protests were lodged with him.
The minister said he had discussed the problem with his Pakistani counterpart, President Hamid Karzai also took it up with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, but the incursions continued.
“Diplomatic efforts have their limits. As we have been unable to reach a conclusion and resolve the issue, now we have to look at other options, including a national stance,” Rassoul remarked.
A lawmaker from eastern Kunar province, the scene of the attacks, said the lull was a result of snowfall -- not diplomacy.
A member of the Wolesi Jirga’s Commission on International Relations, Naheed Farid, said the parliamentary panel wanted to call an emergency meeting of National Security Council (NSC) to ponder over seeking an international solution.
But Rassoul did not think that foreign troops could find a solution to the problem. He said it would be a good omen if the problem was resolved through bilateral talks.
Under the strategic agreement between Afghanistan and the US, the Pentagon has to support Kabul in case of any foreign aggression, but the situation had not reached that level, the minister said.
NDS chief briefed legislators on the number of rockets so far fired into Afghanistan and the locations from where the shells came. Nabil claimed having credible evidence that the attacks were carried out by the Pakistani army.
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