Kabul takes UN route on cross-border shelling
WASHINGTON (PAN): The continued shelling from Pakistan into eastern Afghan provinces resulting in casualties and great anguish among the Afghans is risking gravely jeopardized relations between Kabul and Islamabad, Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul cautioned the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday.
The unprovoked shelling inside Afghanistan coming from across the border was a matter of deep and serious concern for the government and the people of his country, Rassoul told the powerful 15-member UN body.
“The shelling of areas in Kunar province of eastern Afghanistan from across the Durand Line has led to unprecedented anger and frustration among the Afghans from all walks of life,” the foreign minister said in his address to a special UNSC meeting on Afghanistan.
“We reiterate our call for an immediate and complete end to these acts, which have taken the lives of dozens of Afghans, mainly civilians, while leaving many more wounded. We remain in close contact with the government of Pakistan to address this issue, holistically and resolutely,” Rassoul said.
He warned if they failed to end the attacks, it could jeopardize Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral relations and could negatively impact bilateral cooperation on peace, security and economic development.
“Afghanistan desires close and fruitful relations with Pakistan, a neighbour with whom we share historical, cultural and traditional ties,” the foreign minister said.
Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, in her address said that to be sustainable, improved security and greater economic development must rest on a foundation of good governance.
“Credible and broadly inclusive elections in 2014 and 2015 will bolster the legitimacy of the government in Kabul, vest Afghans in its success and send a message to all Afghan factions that their interests are better advanced through political participation rather than violence,” she said.
Ján Kubiš, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, told a meeting of the Security Council that the 2014 presidential elections are in the center of attention. The conduct of credible polls with a mandate for the new country’s leadership is essential to national unity and legitimacy as well as a critical component of ongoing international support, he said.
Pakistan Ambassador to the UN, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, said that the improvement in military cooperation between the two countries should be recognised by all players.
“Pakistan is maintaining its security forces along the international boarder, and indeed it had placed more troops there than both the Afghan government and its international partners,” he said, adding that Islamabad intended to maintain those forces, despite the high cost in lives and resources.
Pakistan has shown great restraint, including regarding attacks on its checkpoints, and would continue to cooperate with ISAF on security matters, he said, adding that he was confident that the “redoubtable people of Afghanistan” would achieve their aims towards lasting peace and security.
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