Afghanistan has warned Pakistan to desist from using radical terrorists as a “foreign policy accessory”, saying peace talks cannot progress if it pretends to be a “selective victim”.
“Let me be very clear. The conflict in our country is not homegrown, as some desperately and deceptively try to portray. On the contrary, it is the nexus of illicit narcotics, violent extremism, and state sponsorship of terrorism with regional dimensions and global consequences,” Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Mahmoud Saikal said at a Security Council debate yesterday on the situation in Afghanistan.
Listing the series of recent terror attacks that have wrecked havoc in his country, Saikal said while the Taliban claimed responsibility for most of these attacks, “our own investigations have clearly established that they were generally plotted beyond our frontiers, on the other side of the Durand Line”.
He said this is the fundamental factor which needs to be addressed.
Quoting UN Security Council statements that condemn these attacks and call for their bring perpetrators and sponsors to be brought to justice, the Afghan envoy questioned why, after countless terrorist atrocities and specific Security Council statements condemning them, “we are still witness to impunity for perpetrators and orchestrators of endless violence”.
“Tragically, it has morphed into an undeclared war by a neighbouring state that has for many years, and still continues to coordinate, facilitate, and orchestrate violence through proxy forces and more than 20 terrorist networks. These groups benefit from a full-fledged external infrastructure to keep Afghanistan off-balance for motives that are inconsistent with our desire to live in a peaceful and prospering region,” he said.
Alluding to the terrorist attacks in Pakistan itself, Saikal said they are the “blowback effects” of using violent proxies as instruments of foreign policy.
“In other words, the chickens are coming home to roost! We have reminded our Pakistani counterparts on many occasions that ‘you reap what you sow’. We say once again, it is time to change that failed policy for your own sake, desist from using radical terrorists as a foreign policy accessory, and genuinely join the international fight against all forms and shades of terrorism,” he said.
Saikal warned that by “bleeding” Afghanistan, Pakistan is not only trying to create a stalemate on the battlefield, but is also hindering the political track.
“Hoping to gain legitimacy for groups such as the Taliban, Pakistani decision-makers continue to use ‘plausible deniability’ and shifting blame, as part of their defensive tactics while manipulating geo-political fault lines to their advantage,” he said.
“Talks leading to a peace process can only succeed when policy is revised, the use of sanctuaries is prohibited, terrorist financing is curbed, and violence is renounced. Peace cannot be achieved by paying lip service and pretending to be a selective victim,” he added.