Dismantle terrorist safe havens, Islamabad asks Kabul
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Pakistan on Monday called for the elimination of terrorist safe havens inside Afghanistan and urged the world to resolve the problem of three million refugees living on its soil.
“We cannot allow our people or our soldiers to be targeted by cross-border attacks launched from these safe havens,” Pakistani Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodi told members of the General Assembly during a special discussion on Afghanistan.
Referring to the Pakistan’s anti-terror campaign in the border regions, she said a large number of terrorists had crossed the border. As a result, she explained the objectives of such an operation could not be fully accomplished until the safe havens in Afghanistan had been eliminated.
“When Pakistan initiated its counter-terrorism operation in North Waziristan, we called for coordinated action from Kabul to prevent their escape into Afghanistan and resort to cross-border attacks from Afghan territory,” she recalled.
Pakistan had not received such cooperation so far, the ambassador lamented, reiterating her call for the Afghan government to shun its lackluster approach and crack down effectively on terrorists fleeing to the country.
“Pakistan also calls on the international community to resolve the problem of the more than three million Afghan refugees on its soil. We have been exemplary hosts of these refugees for over three decades,” she continued.
Those erecting barricades against refugees from Syria and other conflict zones should not expect Pakistan to host the millions of Afghans indefinitely and without international support, Lodhi remarked.
Pakistan remained willing to facilitate peace talks if the rhetoric against it ended in Afghanistan, she said. “Without an acknowledgement by both sides that there is no alternative path to peace in Afghanistan than an unconditional dialogue, it will be difficult to revive the peace process.”
At President Ashraf Ghani's request, Pakistan facilitated the first direct talks between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban in Murree in good faith, she added. Both sides described the first session as an encouraging beginning.
But the process stalled after the revelation of Mullah Omar's death and due to the ensuing succession struggle within the Taliban. “Pakistan remains ready to assist in reviving an Afghan-led peace process. We can do so once requested by the Afghan government…”
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