UN chief Antonio Guterres has warned that any country supporting terrorism will ultimately have to pay a “high price” and offered his good offices to promote cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan to jointly fight the menace. The Secretary-General arrived in Kabul yesterday and held bilateral meetings with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the country’s Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah. Later addressing reporters, the UN chief was asked about documents and proofs submitted by the Afghan government regarding involvement of Pakistan in “equipping and funding” terrorism and whether those documents had been considered by the world body.
“Those are areas of competence of the Security Council of the United Nations. What I am supposed to do as Secretary General is to use my good offices to promote the cooperation between the two countries for them to be able to fight together the threat of terrorism,” Guterres said. He noted that Ghani and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had met in Astana on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. Guterres said he too had met Prime Minister Sharif in the Kazakh capital and his “objective is to do everything that is possible to facilitate and promote the cooperation of the two countries in addressing together the threat of terrorism”.
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“That is important not only for the two countries but for the whole world. We have seen horrible terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, like the last ones in Kabul, horrible terrorist attacks in Pakistan and attacks around the world. It is time to unite against terrorism and that is my objective as Secretary-General of the United Nations,” Guterres added. The UN chief was also asked about a number of countries in the region, particularly “Iran and China”, which are beginning to support insurgent groups. Guterres strongly rejected such claims saying, “I do not subscribe to the accusations.”
He, however, added that his message to “any country that supports terrorism anywhere in the world is that this is the wrong thing to do and if any country supports terrorism one day in relation to other countries, sooner or later the price paid will be high in relations to terrorism within the country itself.” Since his time as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Guterres has been paying a solidarity visit to Muslim communities during the holy month of Ramazan, and his visit to Afghanistan was a continuation of his expression of solidarity with them. “Peace is the solution […] the international community, the neighbouring countries [and] all those related to the Afghan crisis need to come together and understand that this is a war that has no military solution,” the Secretary-General said.
“We need to have peace,” he added, underscoring that at the same time, the level of humanitarian assistance to the country had to be increased and conditions needed to be created for Afghanis to be able to live in dignity. While in Kabul, the UN chief met with displaced men and women from the Kapisa province, now living in a settlement on the outskirts of Kabul. In their interaction, the displaced persons underscored that security remained the prerequisite for their return to their homes and that education, including for women and girls was critical for supporting themselves and their families. They also stressed their need for medical care.