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Pakistan Lashes Out at Afghanistan NSA

by Newsweek Pakistan
Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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In statement, Foreign Office condemns ‘unwarranted’ remarks and calls for end to statements that erode mutual trust

Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Friday alleged that recent statements by Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, appeared designed to reverse the gains in the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“We strongly condemn the baseless insinuations by the Afghan National Security Adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, alleging Pakistan’s involvement in the internal affairs of Afghanistan,” it said in a statement issued in response to a posting by Mohib on Twitter. The tweet, which included a video-clip from a recent interview of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi with Afghanistan’s ToloNews in which he sought to dismiss reports of the Afghan Taliban instigating violence, stated: “This comes as Taliban launches violent offensives against Afghan people across the country. We know how and why they continue to be enabled to do this. Qureshi is either uninformed, ignorant or accomplice. Maybe he also rejects that Osama [bin Laden] was found next to Pakistani Military HQ [in Abbottabad].”

In its rejoinder, Pakistan’s Foreign Office described Mohib’s comments as “unwarranted”  and stressed that Islamabad’s role in the peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban had been “widely acknowledged” by the international community.

“The repeated impertinent and unwarranted remarks by the Afghan NSA are deeply concerning as they are tantamount to a calculated attempt by his office to disregard and nullify the progress in the peace process so far,” it added.

The statement emphasized that Pakistan and Afghanistan had already reached an understanding in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity to “avoid public blame-game and use official channels to discuss complete gamut of bilateral relations.” It also stressed that statements that “erode mutual trust” should be avoided.

This is not the first time Mohib and the Foreign Office have been at odds. Last month, the Afghanistan NSA derided Pakistan as a “brothel house” during a speech in Nangarhar province, prompting Pakistan to cease all official contacts with him.

Historic opportunity

Also on Friday, Foreign Minister Qureshi met Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation Chairman Abdullah Abdullah on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey. According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s policy of maintaining broad engagement with the Afghan political leadership to forge deeper mutual understanding on the bilateral relations and the Afghan peace process.

“The foreign minister highlighted Pakistan’s meaningful contribution to facilitate the direct talks between the U.S. and Taliban as well as the Afghan parties,” it said, adding that he had reiterated that the Afghan leadership must now seize this historic opportunity for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive settlement. “He urged the Afghan leaders to expedite progress in Intra-Afghan negotiations for lasting peace in Afghanistan,” it added.

The foreign minister emphasized that progress in the Afghan peace process was critical to reducing space for spoilers that did not wish to see peace restored in the region. He also underscored that negative statements and blame game only served to vitiate the environment and strengthen the hand of spoilers who wished to derail the peace process.

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