Afghanistan govt’s reaction based on misconceptions: NSC

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Pak reaffirms resolve to continue role for peace

Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad

The National Security Committee Friday strongly condemned recent spate of terror attacks in Afghanistan and observed that the reaction of the Afghan government was based on misconceptions created by certain foreign elements.
The National Security Committee reaffirmed Pakistan’s position of continuing to play its role for regional stability and peace.
The 18th NSC meeting president over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi emphasized that the people of Pakistan understood the pain and anguish of the people of Afghanistan very well since they were themselves the greatest victims of terrorism.
The committee reviewed the security situation in the region and strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Kabul and observed that the government and people of Pakistan shared the shock, grief and sorrow of their Afghan brethren and stood by their side in complete solidarity.
The committee expressed the resolve to forge ahead, despite difficulties, with positive engagement with Afghanistan, including the already planned visit of the Pakistani delegation to Kabul on February 3, 2018, for discussions on Pakistan’s proposed “Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Solidarity.”
The national security body expressed satisfaction on the progress made with regard to border controls with Afghanistan and noted that the Afghan government should support the fencing of the Pak-Afghan border as being in the interest of both countries.
The meeting reviewed the actions taken by the Government of Pakistan and provincial governments to fulfill the country’s international responsibilities under the Financial Action Task Force framework.
The meeting expressed satisfaction over the objectives achieved so far and directed the ministries concerned to complete the few outstanding actions at the earliest.
The committee directed that the achievements made by Pakistan in fulfilling its international obligations should be fully shared with the FATF, and expressed its hope that the FATF would not be politicized by a few countries.
Finally, the National Security Committee reaffirmed Pakistan’s position of continuing to play its role for regional stability and peace.
The 18th meeting of the NSC was attended by Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Interior Prof Ahsan Iqbal, Chairman JCSC Gen Zubair Mehmood Hayat, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of the Naval Staff Adm Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, National Security Advisor Lt-Gen (Retd) Nasser Khan Janjua and senior civil and military officials.
Meanwhile, the first meeting of Pakistan-Afghanistan joint working groups will be held in Kabul today (Saturday) to discuss a host of issues ranging from terrorism, intelligence sharing and cooperation in economic field. The Pakistani delegation will be led by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.
At his regular briefing here on Friday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal stated Pakistan had proposed five joint working groups which focus on ensuring comprehensive engagement for countering terrorism, intelligence sharing, military, economy, trade and transit interaction, refugee repatriation and connectivity.
Dr Faisal said Pakistan has always maintained that there is no military path to peace and stability in Afghanistan and only an Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process will ensure peace there.
Responding to a question, the spokesperson said it is up to Afghanistan to reach settlement among different Afghan groups and Pakistan will continue to support such efforts.
He rejected accusations that Pakistan is supporting the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network, and said the country will not allow its land to be used against any of its neighbours.
Pakistan has been rendering continuous sacrifices for the cause of global peace. It will not allow its land to be used against any of its neighbouring countries, and it expects the same from its neighbours, said the spokesperson.
The FO spokesperson reiterated that focus should be on eliminating safe havens of the TTP, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has constructed 975 posts along its border with Afghanistan, while Afghanistan has built nearly 200 posts only, said Faisal adding 470 attacks were carried out in Pakistan from Afghanistan.
The spokesperson noted that the 27 suspects handed over to Afghan authorities recently were in connection to the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network.
We want a solution to the Afghan issue in accordance with the wishes of the Afghan public, the spokesperson said, adding that Pakistan wants immediate and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their country.
Pakistan’s foreign policy is in accordance with the wishes of its people and national interests, he said.

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