No positive response from Pakistan on South Asia strategy: Afghan NSA

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Published: March 23, 2018 8:51:15 AM

There has been no positive response from Pakistan on the South Asia strategy of Trump administration, which has a significant impact on the reduction of violence and capabilities of the terrorists in this war-torn country, a top Afghan official said today.

South Asia strategy, Afghan NSA, Pakistan, Trump administration, Afghan National Security Adviser,  Mohammad Hanif AtmarWelcoming the South Asia Strategy announced by President Donald Trump last August, Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar told a Washington audience that it already has a significant impact on the reduction of violence and capabilities of the terrorists .

There has been no positive response from Pakistan on the South Asia strategy of Trump administration, which has a significant impact on the reduction of violence and capabilities of the terrorists in this war-torn country, a top Afghan official said today.

Welcoming the South Asia Strategy announced by President Donald Trump last August, Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar told a Washington audience that it already has a significant impact on the reduction of violence and capabilities of the terrorists and to create an enabling environment for our peace and reconciliation strategy.

The response from the region has been mixed, Atmar said in his remarks on “Progress on Peace and Stability in Afghanistan” at the US Institute of Peace.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t had any positive response from Pakistan. Not any change in the policy that they are pursuing,” he said.

Noting that the response from the wider region is slightly mixed, Atmar said while there is a regional consensus on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, the consensus on how to fight the terrorists has broken slightly.

“Unfortunately, there are actors in the region that draw a distinction between good and bad terrorists. Unfortunately, another sign of that breakdown of consensus is that we all agreed to have state-to-state relations for counter terrorism. But there are those now who look at state to non-state actors relations for counter-terrorism with serious implications for all of us,” Atmar said.

“Like that there are those who say that they work with the Taliban against Daish or against the ISIS. Not only this is unethical but also self-defeating in terms of policy. Without going into details of this we are in an environment where while we have made significant progress but we also have challenges primarily associated to the growth of the foreign fighters and the weakening of regional cooperation,” said the top Afghan official.

Atmar said Afghanistan faces threat from a nexus of violent extremism, transnational criminalized networks and state sponsorship of terrorists.

“It’s not just a threat against Afghanistan. It’s a threat against, the region and by extension against the entire global community,” he said.

Noting that this is a common thread from a common enemy which calls for a shared mission and responsibility, Atmar said it’s not just the Taliban and the Haqqani network that they are fighting.

“Increasingly we see foreign fighters associated with at least three categories of terrorist networks. The global terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda, Daes and ISIS-K. The regional terrorists such as IMU from Central Asia and China, and Pakistani terrorists such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jaish-e-Mohammed,” he said.

All these categories of terrorists, he claimed, have symbiotic relationship among themselves.

Responding to a question on peace talks, Atmar said their primary focus is to encourage the Taliban through soft means.

“We agree on that, but add that there must be some disincentives when it comes to the reconcilable elements. And disincentives will have to be provided by Pakistan,” he said.

“As long as the Taliban leaders have a safe haven in Pakistan and they are able to draw proceeds from drugs, there will always be an element of irreconcilable. That needs to be addressed,” Atmar said.

Asserting that the Taliban must know that they cannot win militarily and therefore, Atmar said currently there hasn’t been any official response from the Taliban yet to the peace offer.

“They are still pondering, consulting each other. But the unfortunate fact is that there has been an increase in violence since the launch of the peace strategy and peace offer,” he said.

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