COAS’ categorical assurance to Kabul

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, who spent Eid with his soldiers in North and South Waziristan, conveyed yet another goodwill message to neighbouring Afghanistan by reiterating that Pakistan will not allow its soil to be used against that country. He also declared that Pakistan was committed to facilitate the reconciliation process with sincerity and expects that Afghan territory will also not be used against Pakistan.
This is a sincere and genuine message for Afghanistan and it is hoped it will be taken as such. Earlier too, the Army Chief as well as the civilian leadership of the country on more than one occasions held out similar assurances during their interaction with Afghan leadership but unfortunately there has been a tendency of raising accusing fingers towards Pakistan for all ills that Afghanistan is witnessing due to a complex situation. What Afghanistan badly needs is peace and this is possible only through national reconciliation and not through use of force as is being done both by the United States and the Kabul administration. Pakistan has demonstrated its credentials for facilitation of the peace process by bringing Afghan factions on the negotiating table. Now again, Pakistan is forcefully pleading for peaceful settlement of the conflict at the platform of Quadrilateral Group on Afghanistan but Washington and Kabul are insisting on use of force and this policy is also visible in the latest decision of President Obama to keep more troops in Afghanistan than those originally envisaged under the draw-down plan. Pakistan cannot afford to spread anarchy in Afghanistan as it is already the worst victim of the instability in the neighbouring country. Peace in Afghanistan is not only relevant in the context of progress and development of Pakistan but also its plans to have meaningful economic and commercial cooperation with Central Asian states. It is also a fact that many terrorists, including Mullah Fazlullah, are enjoying refuge in Afghanistan and sponsoring terrorism against Pakistan using Afghan soil and this has to come to an end for the sake of durable peace in the region.

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