National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf on Friday said that Afghan leadership lacked sincere intention to contain the use of its soil against Pakistan, damaging peace and security of the region.
The NSA gave a clear response to the accusations, levelled by a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news anchor questioning the country’s role in the Afghan peace process and allegations raised by the Awami National Party Leader Afrasiab Khattak, blaming the Pakistani government for chaos in Afghanistan.
Dr Moeed refused to respond to Khattak’s accusations flagged by the BBC anchor and emphasised that Pakistan only stood for peace and that’s why had fenced its entire border with Afghanistan and called the Afghan government to place a biometric system for controlled mobility between the two countries which the latter refused.
He said it was the Afghan government who not only opposed the border fencing initiative but also Pakistan’s proposal for a proper visa regime.
“If you are to level an allegation then it should be logical one as the regions falling to Taliban were on the other side of Afghanistan, how Pakistan can assist that debacle,” he maintained.
The NSA also said, “If there was anybody Pakistan wanted to cross to the other side then was that Pakistan or Afghanistan who would have to be eager to ensure fencing along the Pak-Afghan international border.”
He noted that there were serious questions on the intentions of the other side (Afghan so-called political leadership) that needed to be looked into a clear review of the situation.
“We can continue this conversation, however, we have seen Twitter hashtags blaming Pakistan and asking to sanction the country and calling it responsible for the chaos in Afghanistan,” he underlined.
The Pakistani government, he said, minutely observed it and found that 65% was Bot activity (robot generated tweets) and mostly operated from the Afghan government and Indian accounts.
Dr Moeed said Pakistan was having a country (Afghanistan) that was in crisis and its cities were falling. “Pakistan’s only focus is on peace and political settlement, working with the US and international community members who abandoned Afghanistan and save Afghan lives. We want to do it for average Afghanis as we cannot sit on the sidelines.”
To a query, pertaining to Afghan Taliban safe havens in Pakistan, he replied, “These people (Taliban) and their parents were Afghan refugees, their women have married in Pakistan and some of them were born here as the world had abandoned Afghanistan as it is doing now.”
He said that Pakistan had to support those people who laid their trust upon it and there were around 3.5 million Afghan refugees as of now in Pakistan, adding, “No other country has been so generous in this regard.”
‘Focus on political settlement rather than Twitter trends’
Meanwhile, in an interview to Cable News Network (CNN) programme “Connect the World”, hosted by Becky Anderson, Moeed said that the Afghan political leaders should focus on a political settlement of Afghanistan issue, rather than trying hands at Twitter trends.
The national security adviser, during the interview, presented a detailed overview of Pakistan’s efforts for the Afghan peace process and political settlement of the longstanding conflict for the past many decades.
Moeed said that Pakistanis deserve peace as they had lost 85,000 innocent lives and over $150 billion economic losses in war against terror.
“Pakistanis feel ashamed when they are asked to do more despite doing all that they could do for the Afghans. Prime Minister Imran Khan was the only leader who said for the past 15 years, there was no armed solution to Afghan conflict, rather a political resolution will restore peace in the war-torn region.”
He said that the Afghan people, their government, Taliban and other political actors had to decide their fate whereas no sincere effort was done for the political resolution of the crisis by the Afghan leadership.
Afghans, he said, needed public assurance for US involvement in the political solution of the issue to see through it whereas the policymakers in Pakistan only believed in peace, adding that “Pakistan will remain a partner in peace and not in conflict’.
He insisted there was no better time to reinforce Afghan-led and Afghan-owned settlement of their issue at the moment.
“Pakistan has been repeatedly affected due to terrorism orchestrated from Afghan soil due to the nexus of our hostile eastern neighbour India,” he mentioned.
Replying to a query on Pakistani “double standards” on the issue and sanctuaries of Taliban, the NSA said that there was no double game in any such case as there would have been a takeover in eastern Afghanistan by the Taliban.
“There are no safe havens of Taliban and why would Pakistan fence its border completely which is around 2,600 km (1,600 miles) long that has always been porous with 20,000 people crossing every day,” he underscored.
“In millions of Afghan refugees’ settlement, there were certain unwanted elements in Pakistan and we have repeatedly asked the world for a dignified repatriation of Afghan refugees but no response was made by the world,” he regretted.