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Pakistan using terrorists as violent proxies: Afghanistan at UN

NEW YORK: Hitting out at Pakistan for using terrorists as “violent proxies”, Afghanistan has blamed Islamabad’s “unnecessary anxiety” over its ties with India for a sharp spike in civilian and military casualties that made 2015 the bloodiest year since 2001.

“External support to the Taliban and other terrorist groups is primarily motivated by regional rivalry, with excessive and unnecessary anxiety and suspicion of one state over its rival’s otherwise ordinary relations with Afghanistan,” Mahmoud Saikal, Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative told the United Nations General Assembly without directly mentioning India.

“This has resulted in an unsavory policy of using violent proxies in pursuit of political objectives, which has created a significant trust deficit between Pakistan and Afghanistan and provides oxygen for terror to breathe,” he added.

Saikal was making the remarks at yesterday’s Plenary Session on the Situation in Afghanistan.

“This year has been the bloodiest in Afghanistan since 2001, with a sharp increase in civilian and military casualties. We have come under high levels of attacks from foreign-based Taliban including the Haqqani network, Al Qaeda, ISIS (Daesh), Hekmatyar’s faction, and other extremist groups,” he said.

The Haqqani network is blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan, including the Indian embassy bombing and the attack on Kabul Serena Hotel in 2008.

The peak of this was the Taliban’s temporary capture of Kunduz city in late September, during which together with hundreds of international terrorists they unleashed their reign of terror on the population, he added.

Saikal said the “foreign” orchestrators of this year’s ferocious attacks had taken advantage of three factors, including the withdrawal of international forces, and the strong belief of the terrorists that their attacks would make the political system collapse.

Lack of coordination of Pakistan’s untimely counter- terrorism operations with Afghanistan, allowing part of international terrorists to enter Afghan soil; and Kabul’s preoccupation with its 2014 political transition, involving two rounds of elections, which slowed down governance were the other two reasons, he listed.

“Alongside these threats, in 2015 Afghanistan continued to face regular attacks across the Durand Line by Pakistani security forces in clear violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity. As a result of heavy artillery shelling in the eastern provinces many civilian and border police lives have been lost, and our citizens live in fear,” he said in his strongly- worded speech which is perhaps the first time Afghanistan raised before the international forum Pakistan’s motives for backing Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

He said these issues were discussed with the Pakistan government “yet no action has been taken to rectify the situation”.

Pakistan’s UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi said that while Pakistan remained ready to assist in reviving an Afghan-led and owned peace process, it would do so only once requested by the Afghan government.

“But anti-Pakistan rhetoric from Kabul must cease. Pakistan remains committed to the principles of a peaceful neighborhood and peace for development,” she said.

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