Opposition to fencing not Taliban’s policy: NSA

Published January 28, 2022
A view of the meeting of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday. — Photo via NA Committees Twitter
A view of the meeting of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday. — Photo via NA Committees Twitter

ISLAMABAD: National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf on Thursday said Afghanistan’s Taliban government was maintaining cordial ties with Pakistan and recent border fencing troubles were not part of their policy.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, where he had been invited for a presentation on the recently unveiled National Security Policy (NSP), Dr Yusuf said: “At the policy level in Afghanistan there is total positivity on Pakistan.”

He said the state of relations with the new regime in Afghanistan was in complete contrast to the hostility and acrimony towards Pakistan witnessed during the previous government there when even Pakistani trucks were subjected to intense checking.

He made these remarks in response to a query about the health of relations with the Taliban government after multiple incidents in which Taliban commanders disrupted the work on fencing of the Pak-Afghan border and removed barbed wire from some places.

Moeed says government will encourage a debate on security policy in parliament

Dr Yusuf said those incidents were “local level issues” that were addressed locally and had nothing to do with the policy of Taliban government.

Responding to a question about talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the NSA said all options were on the table for the government after the terrorist group unilaterally refused to extend a ceasefire.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had in October disclosed that the government was holding peace talks with TTP. The two sides agreed in November to an extendable month-long ceasefire. However, at the end of the one-month period, TTP refused to prolong it on the pretext that Pakistan government did not fulfill its commitments.

Dr Yusuf said the talks were started at the request of the Taliban government because Pakistan wanted to give dialogue a chance.

He said the talks were held on the condition that the terrorist group would renounce violence, respect country’s Constitution, and there will be no immunity for those involved in violence and other crimes.

Other officials have in the past said that TTP made unacceptable demands during the talks because of which the process could not continue.

About the NSP, Dr Yusuf said the government would encourage a debate on the policy in the parliament. He said the process for the implementation of NSP had, however, begun after its approval by the federal cabinet last month.

The policy has laid out an implementation framework with well-defined progress indicators and the National Security Division has to present status of progress to the National Security Committee every month.

He said that former adviser to the prime minister on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, had started working on the policy in 2014, added Dawn.com.

He went on to say that the policy concerned the economic security of the country and the common man. He said Kashmir issue was part of the NSP, adding that food security, hybrid war, education and organized crime had also been included.

“The policy has been draf­ted for the next five years. Some measures are long-term and some are short-term,” he said.

In a message on Twitter later, Dr Yusuf said some of his remarks to the committee were “mischaracterised” by media and that some quotes being attributed to him were “incorrect”.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2022

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