NEW YORK: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi said on Tuesday said, referring to United States policies in Afghanistan and the recent revision of the policy for the region, Pakistan cannot endorse any strategy that has repeatedly failed in the past.
She was speaking at the UN Security Council’s debate on Afghanistan.
“We cannot endorse any strategy that has repeatedly failed in the past and would only prolong and intensify the suffering of the people of Afghanistan as well further destabilize the entire region,” said Lodhi.
She also said that the Secretary-General has affirmed the strong international consensus that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has long advocated this.”
Pakistan’s envoy outlined three components of a strategy which she said could restore peace in the war-torn country.
She emphasised on a coordinated effort to contain and defeat Daesh and Al Qaeda and their associates, including the TTP, JUA, ETIM and IMU; a sustained dialogue between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban, including other groups willing to negotiate and effective measures to prevent cross-border attacks by terrorists and militants from or to Afghanistan.
She reiterated what Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had stated in the General Assembly last week, “What Pakistan is not prepared to do is fight the Afghan war on Pakistan’s soil.”
Lodhi said the fundamental sources of insecurity in Afghanistan lie inside and not outside the country and pointed out that the Afghan government would be better advised to focus more on its persisting challenges and embark on a course correction.
Pakistan’s envoy also warned the UN council regarding Daesh’s expanding influence in northern and western provinces.
“These are worrying signs for Afghan security and for regional stability.”
Lodhi further said that more than 20 terrorist organisations are operating from Afghan soil, which includes the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jamaat ul Ahrar.
“These organisations are conducting terrorist attacks inside Pakistan and pose a threat to Afghanistan’s other neighbours,” she added.
She urged the Afghan government and Coalition forces present in the country to take decisive action against terrorist safe havens in Afghanistan and said Pakistan continues to face terror attacks from across the Pak-Afghan border, conducted by TTP, JUA and Daesh-related groups.
Lodhi called upon the Afghan Taliban to shed violence and agree to resume talks in one or more negotiating formats.
“An agreed de-escalation of the conflict and a negotiated settlement offers the best chance to end the suffering of the Afghan people and restore peace and tranquillity within Afghanistan and the region,” said Lodhi.
She reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to support all regional and international efforts to promote a peaceful settlement to the internal conflict in Afghanistan and added, “We will continue to do so”.
Pakistan’s envoy to the UN also told the Security Council that Pakistan has fought a successful war against terrorism.
“Our military operations, involving over 200,000 troops, have crushed and eliminated terrorist groups in our frontier regions and our towns and cities. We have paid a heavy price: 27,000 civilians and soldiers have been martyred; 50,000 injured. Our economic losses are estimated at $120 billion”.
Pakistan on the occasion also expressed its commitment to extend all possible assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Lodhi concluded by commenting that while others can afford to orchestrate a proxy war to destabilise Afghanistan and its neighbours, for Pakistan a stable Afghanistan is vital for our own peace, stability and progress.