World must not scapegoat Islamabad for Afghan fiasco: FM Qureshi

Published August 10, 2021
KABUL: Internally displaced Afghans from northern provinces, who fled their homes due to fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces, take refuge in a park on Monday.—AP
KABUL: Internally displaced Afghans from northern provinces, who fled their homes due to fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces, take refuge in a park on Monday.—AP

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday urged the world to introspect about the causes of Afghan security forces’ meltdown instead of pointing the finger at Pakistan for others’ failures.

Speaking at a media conference at the Foreign Office, Mr Qureshi said: “The lack of [Afghan forces’] will to fight, the capitulation that we are seeing, we cannot be held responsible for that.”

He made these comments in the context of the United Nations Security Council’s emergency meeting held last Friday in which Pakistan was accused of backing Taliban insurgents.

Pakistan was not invited to the Security Council meeting to present its position.

The recent most fall of six Afghan provincial capitals to the Taliban, who had been making large territorial gains since foreign forces began departing in May, has, moreover, led to intensification of criticism of Pakistan.

Lashes out at India for refusing to accept Pakistan’s request for participation in UNSC meeting

“It was unfortunate to scapegoat Pakistan for the failure of others,” Mr Qureshi said while calling for looking into governance problems and causes of surrender by the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.

“World needs to ponder and see the amount of money spent [in Afghanistan], where has it gone? Where is the capacity building, training, equipment?” he asked.

The United States claims to have spent billions of dollars to fund and arm the Afghan forces, besides reconstructing the war-ravaged country. But, still the Afghan forces failed to sustain the Taliban onslaught.

Mr Qureshi said the Afghan representative in his statement at the Security Council had propagated disinformation and levelled baseless allegations to mislead the international community. “We categorically reject those baseless allegations,” he emphasised.

The foreign minister also lashed out at India for refusing to accept Pakistan’s request for participation in the meeting. “By not acceding to Pakistan’s request to brief the Security Council, India has been, in our view, in breach of obligation as the UNSC president,” Mr Qureshi said, recalling that Pakistan had at the start of India’s month-long presidency particularly reminded the latter to act “objectively” during its term.

“Unfortunately, a country aspiring for a permanent seat in the Security Council did not behave in a manner befitting of that responsibility,” he maintained.

Pakistan had after the meeting circulated its position on the evolving situation in Afghanistan among the members of the Security Council.

About Pakistan’s role, Mr Qureshi recalled that it had facilitated the US-Taliban agreement in 2020 and later helped the start of intra-Afghan dialogue.

The talks between the Afghan government and Taliban in Doha have made little progress since their start in September last year.

“Pakistan is a facilitator of the peace process, but not a guarantor,” Mr Qureshi said.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2021

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