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Terrorist safe havens in Pakistan threaten Afghan peace: US

AT Monitoring Desk-WASHINGTON: The United States Friday told the UN Security Council that the status quo regarding continues terrorist safe havens in Pakistan was not acceptable and insisted that Islamabad join its efforts to bring a resolution to the conflict.

“We seek to work cohesively and effectively with Pakistan, but cannot be successful if the status quo, one where terrorist organizations are given sanctuary inside the country’s borders, is allowed to continue,” the US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told a ministerial meeting of the Security Council at the UN headquarters in Afghanistan.

“Stability and prosperity in Afghanistan will benefit Pakistan as well, since it will enable a return of refugees and remove the ability of ISIS and other terror groups to operate against Pakistan from outside the country,” he said.

“This is why Pakistan should join our efforts to bring a resolution to the conflict, also as spelled out in our South Asia strategy,” Sullivan said.

Pakistan, he said, has suffered greatly from the effects of terrorism, and thus the country can and should be an integral partner in its shared efforts to achieve peace and stability within the region.

Sullivan ruled that the international community has thus far fallen short in providing that kind of unified support to the Afghan government.

“We have even seen certain countries pursue counterproductive strategies that provide support to the Taliban in the name of countering ISIS. This approach is misguided, or worse, pernicious,” he said.

“We can – and must – fight ISIS in Afghanistan, while ensuring the Taliban is forced to the negotiating table. Working closely with our Afghan partners, we have made significant progress against ISIS in eastern Afghanistan,” Sullivan said.

Together, we have maintained persistent pressure on ISIS, significantly reducing its territory and eliminating one-third of its fighters. Supporting the Taliban only serves to prolong the conflict and foster an unstable and insecure environment, one that ISIS exploits to threaten Afghanistan and the broader region,” said the top American diplomat.

Ultimately, to defeat ISIS in Afghanistan – and prevent the group’s spread across the region – each country at this table must be aligned in the strategy, and in their commitment to follow-through. Ineffective strategies that enable insurgent groups must cease – instead, they need to join together and provide unwavering support for the Afghan government, he said.

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