Friday, 14 December, 2018

Islamabad knows peace in Afghanistan unlikely without its support: United States general

Pakistan says US accepts its role in Afghan peace Army spokesman says Pakistan will facilitate peace process despite its receding influence over Taliban
Deanna Wagner | 07 December, 2018, 10:10

Imran Khan said it is the vindication of his view point about seeking a political settlement in Afghanistan through dialogue with all the stakeholders including Taliban.

Speaking at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, McKenzie also said that the United States and its allies need to keep helping the Afghans recruit and train forces to battle the Taliban's estimated 60,000 fighters.

PM Imran Khan further added, "there are no sanctuaries in Pakistan".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is in Afghanistan to fight against worldwide terrorism, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

Some 14,000 US soldiers are now serving in Afghanistan, and McKenzie couldn't say how much longer the United States would remain in the country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that USA wants our help to establish peace in Afghanistan and I always believed that instead of "do more" we should play a role in the Afghan peace process.

"Investment is coming in Pakistan but opponents make it seem that the country is in crisis", he asserted and questioned how investment could have come in a crisis situation.

Expressing happiness over the response from the Sikh community, PM Imran said, "Kartarpur is for them what Medina is for us".

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"Taking concrete steps that deny VEO safe havens in Pakistan, as well as VEO freedom of movement from Pakistan to Afghanistan, remains an important task that Pakistan needs to fulfil".

He said Pakistan would be interested in playing this role because "it's in Pakistan's long-term interests to have a government in Afghanistan that is stable, that they can do business with".

"I do believe that any solution in Afghanistan is going to require the assistance of Pakistan".

The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, insisted that the Afghans are doing more, running regional training centers and teaching their own special forces.

Fifteen years after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation took the lead on global security efforts in Afghanistan, the military alliance's foreign ministers on Wednesday reaffirmed their commitment to stay the course despite mounting Afghan casualties and the slow pace of peace efforts. "Bear in mind that about 40 percent of Afghanistan is now out of the government's hands".

"So I think Pakistan has not shown indications, by and large over the last few years, of being a serious partner in this regard", McKenzie said.

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani conceded that the security forces are sustaining many casualties, but he said they are increasingly successful in repelling enemy attack.

"Probably Pakistan knows very clearly that their assistance will be required to reach an end-state in Afghanistan". It is the responsibility of all countries to remain alongside the Afghan security forces and help them in fighting terrorism. "They want our help to establish peace in Afghanistan and use whatever influence that we have over the [Afghan] Taliban", he said. "They said that we have time and time again asked the Americans, 'Can you tell us where the sanctuaries are, and we will go after them?' There are no sanctuaries in Pakistan".