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Pakistani Officials Slam ‘Spoilers’ Damaging Peace in Afghanistan

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo. YouTube

National security adviser, information minister issue separate statements stressing Islamabad’s commitment to facilitating peace in neighboring state

National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday hit out at “spoilers” in the Afghanistan government that they alleged were damaging the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban.

“Pakistan remains committed to facilitating an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan,” read a posting on Twitter by Yusuf. “In this spirit, P.M. Imran Khan agreed to meet [Afghan] President Ghani recently to continue our engagement,” he said. This facilitation, said Yusuf, was being damaged by certain “spoilers” in Kabul who were trying to deflect blame from their own failings onto Pakistan.

“Vitriolic and delusional statements from some spoilers in Kabul who, unfortunately for our Afghan brothers and sisters, are imposed on them as their senior officials and are constantly attempting to vitiate bilateral relations on purpose to deflect attention from their own failures,” he added.

According to the national security adviser, such statements were “embarrassing” for Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is being embarrassed daily due to these idiotic statements. Afghans should rest assured that everyone can see through the nefarious agenda of these spoilers. We will not let a handful of venomous minds affect Pakistan’s support to all Afghans for peace and stability,” he said.

In recent weeks, there has been a marked uptick in statements from senior Afghan officials casting doubt on Pakistan’s role in the peace process. Among the most vocal critics is Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who has accused Pakistan of aiding the Taliban in their takeover of several districts of Afghanistan, as well as alleging that the Pakistan Army is providing manpower to the insurgents.

During a visit to Tashkent last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan responded to President Ghani’s accusations of Pakistan’s “negative role” in the Afghan peace process, stressing that it was “unfair” to blame Islamabad for the situation in the neighboring state. “We have made every effort, short of taking military action against the Taliban in Pakistan, to get them on the dialogue table and to have a peaceful settlement [in Afghanistan],” said Khan. “To blame Pakistan for what is going on in Afghanistan is extremely unfair,” he had added.

In a separate statement issued later on Thursday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also accused the Afghan leadership of trying to offload blame on Pakistan. Addressing media in Jhelum, he said the vice-president’s family did not even live in Afghanistan and statements of such leaders had “no value.”

Claiming that people-to-people ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan were very strong, Chaudhry added that Pakistan had always stood shoulder to shoulder with its Afghan brethren. He stressed that the resolution of the Afghan conflict was only possible through intra-Afghan dialogue, adding that Pakistan can only facilitate this process, not lead or participate in it.

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