July 07, 2017

Haqqani network being run from Afghanistan: FO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan hit out at the accusations from the United States that it continues to support the militant Haqqani network stating clearly that current statistics make it evident that, in fact, the Haqqani network was based inside Afghanistan and was operating from there.

Pakistan's response comes at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has met President Ashraf Ghani in Tajikistan when the fate of two kidnapped Pakistani diplomats is still unknown. The diplomats were based in the Consulate General of Pakistan in Jalalabad -- an eastern on June 16 while traveling to Pakistan by road

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office declined to comment on US Senator John McCain’s warnings that if Pakistan does not stop supporting the Haqqani network, the United States should change its attitude towards the Pakistan nation, saying these were mere media reports.

“We have made it very clear that we expect they [Pakistan] will cooperate with us, particularly against the Haqqani network and against terrorist organisations,” McCain told the Afghan media.

However, during the weekly media briefing, the spokesman gave a detail response to prove the presence of the Haqqani network inside Afghanistan, saying that this was a mere attempt to put the blame of failures in Afghanistan on others.

“On June 12, 2017, TTA leader, Mullah Abdul Bari, was killed by Afghan 215th Maiwand Corps in Nad-e-Ali, Helmand. Reuters in its August 30, 2016, news reported killing of four commanders of Haqqani network in US airstrike in Afghanistan’s Jani Khel district. The report also mentioned that Haqqani fighters have ‘traditional stronghold’ in Eastern Afghanistan,” said the spokesman.

He also pointed to TOLO News reported killing of Haqqani commander, Karnail, on July 25, 2016 in eastern Khost province of Afghanistan in an encounter with the Afghan security forces. An English daily carried datelines of New Indian Express and Xinhua news agency on 10th June, to report killing of Haqqani commander, Sirajuddin Khademi, in a US drone strike in Sarwaza district of Paktika province on 8 June, added the spokesman saying that the report mentioned that Haqqani network, regarded as military wing of Taliban outfit, has been operating mostly in Afghanistan’s eastern provinces and Kabul.

“TTP, TTA, Daesh, JuA, remnants of al-Qaeda and a number of other splinter groups are settled in the ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan. The TTP and TTA have fled to Afghanistan,” he commented.

To several queries, the spokesman reiterated that the recent discussions in Islamabad with the visiting US senators focused on the issue of peace efforts in Afghanistan.

“The US policy on Afghanistan is expected, shortly. There is convergence of thoughts of both the US and Pakistan in the context. Pakistan’s position on the efforts for reconciliation is clear. We believe in Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. We also firmly believe that peace and security in Afghanistan has direct bearing on the peace and security in Pakistan. Peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest. We fully support all efforts aimed at bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan,” he clarified.

Meanwhile, Pakistan welcomed Iranian Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s statement in which he spoke about the plight of the people of Kashmir in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).

“The entire Muslim Ummah is concerned over grave human rights situation in IHK. The OIC has repeatedly condemned Indian atrocities and called for an independent fact finding mission to be sent to Indian occupied Kashmir. Pakistan believes that India must be confronted to immediately stop the bloodshed in IHK and call for an early implementation of relevant UNSC Resolutions that promise Kashmiris UN-supervised plebiscite to exercise their right to self-determination,” said the spokesman.

As world capitals continue to look away from the continuing barbarism against the Kashmiris, the spokesman reminded them about Indian forces in IHK using ammunition containing chemical agents and precursors to kill Kashmiri youth and destroy Kashmiris’ properties. Charred bodies of Kashmiri youth were found in the debris of five houses destroyed by the Indian forces at Bahmnoo and Kakpora in Pulwama.

“The bodies were so extensively burnt that they were beyond visual recognition. Body of Kifayat Ahmad, one of the three martyred youth, could be identified. There were more such occurrences of crimes by the Indian army. If use of chemicals in the ammunition is confirmed, then it would constitute a serious violation of Int’l norms and India’s Int’l obligations under Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC),” he added.

News Desk adds: When asked about the sale of advanced weapons to India by different countries, the FO spokesperson said Pakistan is deeply concerned on the matter which undermines the objectives of preserving strategic balance in the region.

He said Pakistan will continue to raise its voice at the international fora which should objectively assess its actions and policies towards South Asian region. He said Pakistan is not oblivious to safeguarding its national security.


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