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Pakistan Supports Inclusive Political Settlement in Afghanistan

 

November 02, 2021

Pakistan has assured the international community that it vigorously supports a comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan.The Pakistani embassy in Washington said in a statement to the US media that it was time to stop blaming Pakistan forevery problem in Afghanistan.In media statements and congressional hearings, US and Afghan officials frequently blame Pakistan for the Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15, just days before the withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan.

Last month, 22 US senators introduced legislation in the Senate to investigate Pakistan’s alleged role in Afghanistan before and after the fall of Kabul, as well as the recent Taliban offensive in Panjshir Valley.

In an opinion piece published this week in The Wall Street Journal, Javid Ahmad, a former Afghan ambassador to the UN, claimed that on August 15 “Pakistan succeeded in enabling the Taliban takeover” and that “Going forward, Islamabad expects to play the dominant role” in Afghanistan.Mr. Ahmad urged the Biden administration to “reassess its fundamental relationship” with Pakistan and “deploy an intelligence-led team to directly engage the Taliban.” He also urged Washington to “refrain from enlisting Pakistan as a counter terrorism partner.”

However, contrary to such claims, “Pakistan vigorously supported (and continues to support) an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan,” according to the Pakistani statement.According to the statement, “on at least two occasions, Pakistan joined China, Russia, and the United States in categorically opposing any government installed by force in Afghanistan.

Noting that successive Afghan governments had blamed Pakistan for their own shortcomings for the past 20 years, Pakistan stated that this approach “betrays the same breathtaking lack of introspection and refusal to accept any responsibility that was the hallmark” of the government that fell apart on August 15, when former President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul.

Pakistan recalled that recently, former US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad blamed Mr. Ghani’s refusal to seriously negotiate a power-sharing agreement with the Taliban for the events of August 15 and beyond.The statement added that Mr. Ghani believed that “American talk of withdrawal was a bluff,” and that the violent chaos that marked the end of the Ghani regime “could have been avoided if the former president had not reneged on an agreement for a more orderly transition.Those who make such “outlandish claims” about Pakistan’s role in the Taliban military offensive “do not bother to back them up with any evidence,” according to Maliha Shahid, a Pakistan embassy spokesperson. “They don’t explain why Afghanistan’s lauded security forces and intelligence services were unable to stop a supposed ‘deluge of militant fighters’ who entered the country.

Pakistan also denied being to blame for the Afghan state’s rampant corruption, which “led US officials to privately describe the Kabul regime as VICE or a vertically integrated criminal enterprise.Was Pakistan to blame for the stunning collapse of the demoralized and unpaid 300,000-strong Afghan army built with $83 billion in American taxpayer money?” asked the statement.

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