In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Pakistan Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi claimed that there were no Taliban safe havens in his country.
“Having suffered and sacrificed so much due to our role in the global counter terrorism campaign it is especially galling for Pakistan to be blamed for the military or political stalemate in Afghanistan…We are not prepared to be anyone’s scapegoat. Taliban ‘safe havens’ are located not in Pakistan but in the large tracts of territory controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan, , Abbasi said in his address.
Abbasi’s statement comes a month after US President Donald Trump warned Islamabad against providing safe havens to terrorists.
Yes, cross border attacks do occur. These are mostly conducted by anti-Pakistan terrorists from ‘safe havens’ across the border. To end all cross border attacks we ask the Afghanistan government and the Coalition to support and complement Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to strengthen border controls and monitor all movement across it, Abbasi added.
He also said that Pakistan will not endorse any “failed strategy” that will prolong suffering of the people in the region.
On August 21, Trump in his new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia had warned Pakistan for its continued support to terrorist groups and warned Islamabad of consequences if it continues to do so.
Trump had also asked India to play a greater role in war-torn Afghanistan, much to the dislike of Pakistan.
Abbasi called for a priority on eliminating extremists, including from the militant Islamic State (IS) group and Al Qaeda, in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan believes that the urgent and realistic goals in Afghanistan should be: One, concerted action to eliminate the presence in Afghanistan of Daesh, Al-Qaeda and their affiliates including the TTP and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which was recently declared a terrorist organisation by the UNSC.
“Two, promote negotiations between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) or any trilateral format to evolve a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan.
Abbasi said apart from the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and its people too suffered the most from four decades of foreign intervention and civil wars in Afghanistan.
(With inputs from agencies)