Pakistan Flushed Fazlullah’s TTP Taliban Are Suddenly “ISIS,” Once Inside Afghanistan

Afghan ambassador claims 80 percent IS fighters came from Pakistan

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Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Janan Mosazai on Wednesday claimed that 80 percent fighters and leadership of Daesh in Afghanistan came from Pakistan to the country and suggested that the two counties need to co-ordinate efforts to deal with the potential threat of the terror network to the neighbours. The outgoing Afghan ambassador was speaking at a public talk, organised by Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).

The ambassador stated that 80 percent fighters and the current leadership of Daesh in Afghanistan came from Pakistan’s tribal belt – Orakzai, Mohamand and Bajaur agencies. “So this is a challenge, which is a common threat for both the countries [Pakistan, Afghanistan] and closer coordination is needed between the two countries to deal with it,” he said, adding Afghan security forces, intelligence agencies and their counterparts in Pakistan need to make co-ordinated efforts to deal with the menace of Daesh, which is a potential threat to the regional security.

On the Afghan reconciliation process, he said that Afghanistan’s legitimate government was facing an armed opposition, having “external linkages and connections”, and both the Afghan government and vast majority of the people have expressed sincere desire of a political solution with the armed opposition. He said that in the process all the neighbours especially Pakistan and the key international allies particularly China and United States had an essential role to play. However, he pointed out that there was need for reduction in the ongoing violence in Afghanistan for the success of the reconciliation process.

The Ambassador stated that there was no military solution to the war in Afghanistan. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have suffered heavily at the hands of the terrorists, he said, adding that after the Murree talks proved futile, another effort is now being made in the form of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group dialogue. On economic cooperation, he expressed the importance of close economic cooperation between the two countries, adding that it would not only help lift millions out of poverty but also help restore Afghanistan’s natural role as a leader in the region instead of a country which serves as platform for proxy wars.

He stated that Kabul recognises the importance of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and said that the multi-billion dollar project would have a positive impact on the economy of Afghanistan as well. He highlighted President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan in November and applauded all the developments that took place during the visit.

The solution to the region’s problems lay in progressively narrowing down differences, which needs strong linkages, he added. The Ambassador also talked about the vitality of transit trade and highlighted developments in the energy sector, namely the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA-1000).

To queries, the Afghan envoy said that his country was pursuing a strict policy of non-interference, adding that Kabul will not allow any group or state to use Afghan soil against any other country including Pakistan. However, he said that India was playing an important role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development, adding that Afghanistan was ready to work under a trilateral mechanism to address concerns of Pakistan if it believes that India is involved in any anti-Pakistan activities.

Referring to historic ties between the two countries, he said that millions of Pakistanis trace back their ancestry to Afghanistan, adding the relationship between the two countries is not only one of a shared culture and beliefs but also of blood. He thanked government of Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees and was grateful for the kindness and hospitality with which they were treated on a daily basis stating that the Afghan refugees held tremendous goodwill for the people of Pakistan.

However, he voiced his concern about the recent trend where these refugees had been blamed for terrorist activities in Pakistan and voiced earnest hope that in future such statements would not be issued. He further stated that the refugees want to go back home with dignity and till that time this issue should be treated on purely humanitarian grounds and not politicised.

Ambassador Mosazai pointed out that Pakistan and Afghanistan are two independent countries with intertwined destinies. Hence they cannot isolate each other under any circumstance. Earlier, Director General ISSI former ambassador Masood Khan highlighted that Pakistan and Afghanistan were bound by the ties of geography, history, ethnicity, and religion.

He highlighted that how the two countries have restarted their joint quest for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process – the Quadrilateral Coordination Group Dialogue and stated that in this “quad”, Afghanistan is the key actor, while the other three countries are playing a supportive, facilitative role. He laid emphasis on the fact that direct talks without any preconditions and red lines were vital for the peace process to move forward, adding the key challenge was to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.