Pakistan vows to eliminate or expel Taliban
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Happy with the recent intelligence-sharing agreement with Afghanistan and significant improvement in relationship between Islamabad and Kabul, a top Pakistani official has said the government would either eliminate the Taliban or force them to leave the country.
“On the Taliban, or the terrorists, the militants, we shall either eliminate them or force them to leave,” Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, said at The Heritage Foundation, a top American think-tank.
“But there is the beauty of the new development. Because of our enhanced understanding with Afghanistan, we now are actually engaged in real-time intelligence sharing. We don't want to simply push this problem away from our border into somebody else,” Fatemi said in response to a question.
Pakistan, he said, is working closely with Afghanistan, the security agencies, the intelligence agencies, and with the passage of time, this cooperation will increase and it will be further enhanced.
Af-Pak relationship, he observed, is very important for his country. “It became even more important when we recognized that the United States would be disengaging from that country, and while it would be inappropriate of me to make any comment on that decision, there is no doubt that the U.S. disengagement would mean greater challenges for us,” he said.
“Therefore we started working on promoting good relations with Kabul. We didn't have much success in the first few months, but with the election of President Ashraf Ghani, things have moved forward visibly and speedily,” Fatemi said.
“I can claim that we have had more interaction between the two countries at the highest level of the elected government, as well as the military leadership, in the past six months than we had in the past six years,” he said.
“The army chiefs have visited each other, intelligence chiefs have done so, interior ministry officials have done so, financial ministers, commerce ministers, you name them. The Prime Minister has visited, the Afghan president has come to Pakistan, and finally, in the common objective of the two countries, to promote a reconciliation between Kabul and Taliban, we had the first overt publicly- acknowledged success a few weeks ago on the 7th of July, just outside Islamabad,” he said.
“It is a small step, but we wish to transform it into a process rather than merely an event. We hope that we will continue to use our influence, limited as it is, in furthering deeper engagement between the Taliban and the Kabul government, and yet, at the same time, I wish to affirm before you that our resolve to take on the challenge represented by the militants and the terrorists has been further strengthened,” Fatemi said.
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