LRIP

Blame Game for Kabul’s Fall

September 2, 2021

According to Islamabad’s US ambassador, Asad Majeed Khan, the breakdown of the former Afghan government was caused by internal problems in Afghanistan, not Pakistan’s military strategy.

Last week, Republican Congressman Michael G. Waltz wrote to US President Joe Biden, instructing him to impose Pakistan for allegedly supporting Taliban militants who, according to Mr Waltz, managed to capture Kabul with the help of Islamabad.

Ambassador Khan responded to the letter by claiming that US lawmakers had “misconstrued” Pakistan’s presence in Afghanistan. He wrote, “The claim that Pakistan’s ‘military policy’ was somehow resolute in the defeat of the 300,000-strong Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) does not line up with the US government’s own evaluations”.

He added, “The ANDSF had long struggled with poor leadership, reprisals, and ghost soldiers”. “Demotivated soldiers do not fight for corrupt, autocratic leaders who flee at the first sign of danger.”

In an interview with the BBC that aired Monday night, Ambassador Khan stated that Pakistan was still working to bring all Afghan groups together. He said, “Our position has always been that we should support and encourage all Afghan parties to reach an agreement”. He further added,“because reaching an agreement and their forming an inclusive government would prevent a migration of people of Afghan refugees.”

He said “At the same time, Pakistan has been doing everything it can to promote the evacuation of all those who want to exit Afghanistan”. According to Ambassador Khan, over 9,000 people have travelled through Pakistan so far, and Islamabad is still working with the international community to accommodate those evacuations.

On Tuesday, US Senator Chris Van Hollen expressed gratitude Pakistan and other countries for supporting in the evacuation of American citizens and others who had become stuck in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the country. Mr Hollen, a Karachi-born Democrat from Maryland, said in a tweet,  “Even as the last US troops leave Afghanistan, I will do everything in my power to bring all Americans home and to provide temporary shelter to our Afghan partners threatened by their assistance for the US”.

Ambassador Khan told Mr Hollen over the phone on Monday that he informed him on “Pakistan’s assistance for evacuations of US, Afghan, and other nationals from Afghanistan.” He also stated that he discussed Pakistan’s “viewpoint on the emergency of safeguarding an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan” with the US lawmaker.

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