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WASHINGTON: As the White House once again urged Pakistan to arrest or expel Taliban leaders from its territory, Islamabad’s envoy in Washington said his country refuses to be a “scapegoat” for America’s failing policies in Afghanistan.

“We call on Pakistan to immediately arrest or expel the Taliban’s leaders and prevent the group from using Pakistani territory to support its operations,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at a Monday afternoon news briefing.

Commending the “swift action” taken by the Afghan security forces at the time of the attack, Ms Sanders said: “Afghanistan forces, with our support, will continue to relentlessly pursue the enemies of Afghanistan who also seek to export terror around the world.”

US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson also issued a statement, condemning the Kabul attack but he did not mention Pakistan. He, however, pointed out that the Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Pakistan’s top envoy in Washington, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, however, refused to accept the blame for the worsening security situation in Afghanistan.

In a speech at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, on Monday, Mr Chaudhry said that people in Pakistan had started saying that “we are being scapegoated for the failures in Afghanistan. … We are the bogeyman that has to explain why $680 billion in Afghanistan have not solved the problem”.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2018