'Afghan govt should own its failures': Ministers refute allegations of Pakistan supporting Taliban

Published August 10, 2021
A combination photo of  Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Shahbaz Gill. — APP/ DawnNewsTV/PID
A combination photo of Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Shahbaz Gill. — APP/ DawnNewsTV/PID

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders slammed Afghanistan on Tuesday for blaming Pakistan for the growing violence and worsening security situation in the war-torn country as the Taliban continued to scale up offensive.

Refuting allegations made against Pakistan during last week's United Nations Security Council's (UNSC's) emergency meeting in which Pakistan was accused of backing Taliban insurgents, Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that Pakistan had nothing to gain from conflict in the neighbouring country and instead, Kabul should be held answerable for "daily instances of terrorism in Pakistan sponsored and coordinated from Afghanistan".

"Everyone knows People like HamdUllah works for whom... #AfghanPeaceProcess," he added.

Energy Minister Hammad Azhar termed the allegations against Pakistan "baseless", saying in a tweet that the Afghan National Security Forces had voluntarily surrendered during battles against militants multiple times, despite having "massive financial support".

"Afghan government should own its failures. Pakistan strongly desires for peace and stability in Afghanistan," he said in a tweet.

Similarly, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Shahbaz Gill tweeted: "The Taliban control over 60% of Afghanistan but somehow Afghan officials run a campaign maligning Pakistan for their own failures instead of fighting on the ground. Daily their forces surrender and daily they blame Pakistan. Fight! Don’t do propaganda."

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said during a press conference in Islamabad that Pakistan had nothing to do with the political situation in Afghanistan and if anything, peace in the neighbouring country was in favour of Pakistan.

He added that Pakistan had sealed all its borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan had no involvement in the worsening situation in Afghanistan.

These statements are in line with that of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who said during a press conference a day ago that Pakistan had repeatedly urged against pointing fingers on the Afghan situation.

In reaction to allegations made during the UNSC meeting, Qureshi had added, "If you have an issue, bring it up, discuss it and let's find a way out.”

The foreign minister had told media persons that he had invited the Afghan foreign minister in writing to visit Islamabad to discuss the matter and resolve it, adding that Pakistan had urged the Afghan government to refrain from a “blame game” and engage with Pakistan in a meaningful manner to address the challenges to peace and security in the region.

Prior to that, the Foreign Office (FO) had issued a statement regretting that Pakistan's detractors were given an opportunity to peddle allegations against it in the UNSC meeting that was not allowed to participate in.

“It is a matter of deep regret that, as the closest neighbour of Afghanistan, whose contribution in the ongoing peace process has been recognised by the international community, Pakistan’s request to the President of the Security Council to address the Council’s session and present its perspective on the Afghan peace process and the way forward was not acceded to,” the FO had said.

“On the other hand, the Council’s platform was made available to enable the peddling of a false narrative against Pakistan,” it had added.

The FO had further said Afghanistan’s representative had propagated disinformation and levelled baseless allegations against Pakistan of supporting insurgents with a view to mislead the international community.

Pakistan, it had said, categorically rejected these accusations.

The meeting had convened at the request of the Afghan government after the Taliban began assaulting major urban centres and carried out an attack on the residence of Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi in Kabul and after Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar had spoken to India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

The meeting was not the first instance of Pakistan being blamed for rising violence and accused of supporting militants in Afghanistan after the US began the withdrawal of its troops from the war-torn country.

Last month, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had alleged while addressing the at the international conference on “Central and South Asia Regional Connectivity: Challenges and Opportunities” in Uzbekistan that 10,000 militants sneaked into Afghanistan from Pakistan to create unrest there.

In response, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said during his speech at the conference that it was “extremely unfair” to blame Islamabad for the situation in Afghanistan.

“Due to the Afghan conflict, Pakistan is the worst affected country and it was unfair to blame Pakistan for turmoil in Afghanistan,” he had added.

“President Ghani let me just say that the country that will be most affected by turmoil in Afghanistan is Pakistan. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the last 15 years. The last thing Pakistan wants is more conflict,” the premier had said.

The allegations by the Afghan President and Prime Minister Imran Khan's stinging rebuke in response had come just a day after the FO had denied allegations by Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh that the Pakistan Air Force had issued an official warning to Afghan security forces to repel any action by the latter to dislodge the Taliban from the border crossing of Spin Boldak.

Such allegations "undermine Pakistan’s sincere efforts to play its part in an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution" for restoring peace in the war-torn country, the FO had said. " It is unfortunate to scapegoat Pakistan for the failures of others. The issues of governance and meltdown of Afghan National Defence Forces needs to be looked into, instead of simply pointing fingers at Pakistan.”

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