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    Saturday, 20 January 2018

    US and Pakistan clash at UN over Afghanistan

    The United States has urged Pakistan not to give sanctuary to terrorist organisations while Pakistan has demanded that the Trump administration address safe havens inside Afghanistan and its income from the narcotics trade.
    The exchange took place Friday at a Security Council meeting on the issue of Afghanistan’s relations with its Central Asia neighbours and the link between peace and security, Afghanistan wants world powers to ramp up pressure on Pakistan: US envoy
    US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said the US cannot work with Pakistan if it continues to give sanctuary to terrorist organisations and need to stop this and join efforts to resolve the Afghan conflict.
    Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi strongly countered that Afghanistan and its partners, especially the US, need to address “challenges inside Afghanistan rather than shift the onus for ending the conflict onto others.”
    Lodhi said India accuses Pakistan of having a ‘terrorist mindset’ however, the arrest of the Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav proves that India is the harbinger of terrorism.
    She also stressed on the fact that power and suppression cannot bring peace in Afghanistan with peaceful dialogue.
    “Those who imagine sanctuaries outside need a reality check,” she stressed.
    The exchange followed the Trump administration’s announcement this month that it was suspending military aid to Pakistan until it takes decisive action against militants.
    In August, the US infuriated Pakistan by accusing it of providing a haven for extremist groups that carry out attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan. Pakistan repeatedly has said it is acting against Taliban insurgents and members of the Haqqani group.
    Armed clashes in Afghanistan in the past year were the highest in a decade and civilian casualties remained at near-record levels.
    Sullivan told the council that an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned approach to peace, with firm international support for Afghan security forces, “will make clear to the Taliban that victory cannot be won on the battlefield — a solution is and must be political.”
    “We must recognise the reality that while the Afghan government has been adamant about its interests in initiating peace talks with the Taliban, there has been no reciprocal interest on the part of the Taliban.”
    “That must change,” Sullivan stressed.
    He urged international efforts to isolate the Taliban, eliminate its sources of income and equipment. Sullivan also criticised unnamed countries for supporting the Taliban in the name of fighting the Islamic State extremist group, also known as IS.
    “This approach is misguided or worse pernicious,” he said. “The United States believes that the two are not linked. We can and must fight IS in Afghanistan while ensuring the Taliban come to the negotiating table.”
    US asks Pakistan to convince Haqqanis for talks
    Lodhi said, after 17 years of war it’s “more than evident” that neither the Afghan government nor the Taliban can win militarily.
    “The continuing resort to military force and escalation of the conflict without an accompanying political and diplomatic strategy will produce more violence, not a political solution,” she said.
    “It is not enough to pay lip service to a negotiated settlement and then do little other than exercise a strategy of force and coercion.”
    Sullivan, Lodhi and Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai did not mention the US suspension of aid to Pakistan.

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