Afghanistan Lets It Fly At the UN, Charging Pakistan Sponsors Taliban

An Afghan newspaper on May 25, 2016 headlines pictures of the former leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike on May 21, 2016 in Kabul. Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Mahmoud Saikal said the very fact that Mansour was “tracked” and killed in Pakistan’s Balochistan in an American drone strike revealed that Mansour had a Pakistani passport in a fake name that he had used to fly numerous times from Pakistani airports.  AP

Says Islamabad “needs political will” and not “nuclear deals or F-16s” to take action against terrorists.

In a scathing attack, Afghanistan has accused “elements within the state structure of Pakistan” of facilitating most of the terrorist groups active in the region and said the country “needs political will” and not “nuclear deals or F-16s” to take action against terrorists.

In his statement to the powerful United Nations Security Council on the debate on U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) here on Tuesday, Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Mahmoud Saikal said Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was “tracked” and killed in Pakistan’s Balochistan in an American drone strike. The incident “exposed” that Mansour had a Pakistani passport in a fake name that he had used to fly numerous times from Pakistani airports.

‘Duplicity, blame game’

“Despite this, the charade of plausible deniability, duplicity, and blame of Afghan weaknesses continues, which must come to an end if we are to succeed in counter-terrorism,” he said.

Mr. Saikal accused “elements within the state structure of Pakistan” of facilitating most of the terrorist groups active in the region and warned that a country using “good and bad terrorists” against each other is “playing with fire.” He further pointed out that in the past 15 years, numerous leading figures of terrorism, including bin Laden and Taliban leaders Mullah Omar and Mansour have lived and died in Pakistan.

‘Terrorists killed in their safe havens’

“The fact that notorious terrorist leaders were found and killed in their safe havens there is a clear proof that the country has violated the sovereignty of other nations,”” he said adding that this constituted a flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions on the Sanctions Regime against the Taliban.

“We believe that there is an urgent need for proper implementation of the existing counter-terrorism resolutions of the U.N. Security Council,” he said.

Ghani’s address quoted

Mr. Saikal quoted President Ashraf Ghani’s address to joint sitting of the National Assembly where the Afghan leader had called on Pakistan to respect the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) agreements and take action against terrorists who have their bases and leaders in the neighbouring country.

“We believe that there is a need for political will and honest police action — rather than nuclear deals or F-16s — to fulfil the task,” of taking action against the terrorists.

‘Afghanistan as a terror launch pad’

Apart from the Taliban, the “constantly morphing” global and regional terrorist groups seek to turn Afghanistan into a “launching pad” against Central Asia, South Asia, West Asia and the Far East, Mr. Saikal said.

“The Al-Qaeda has gone dark and deep. Other regional terrorist networks, with links to Central Asian republics, Chechnya and China are highly active in our region. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, in coordination with other terror groups, remains a long-term threat to the security and stability of our region,” he said.

“Pak elements’ active support”

“What is more important, most of these terrorist groups and networks enjoy the facilitation and orchestration services of elements within the state structure of Pakistan who believe in the use of violence in pursuit of political objectives.

“Any country contemplating the use of good and bad terrorists against each other and against others is playing with fire which will catch itself. It is imperative that the international community undertake an initiative to establish objective criteria to identify and confront state sponsorship of terrorism in our neighbourhood,” he said.

‘Afghanistan committed to peace’

However, despite the challenges, Mr. Saikal has said Afghanistan remains committed to the peace process with reconcilable Afghan elements in parallel to strengthening its defence and security capabilities.

“It is important that we remain vigilant against the instrumentalisation and misuse of the peace process to buy time and refuel the war machine of the Taliban by their supporters,” he said.

‘Taliban irreconcilable to peaceful objectives’

Mr. Saikal said last winter, the QCG comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the U.S. had finalised a roadmap for the peace process with the expectation that the Taliban would use the opportunity and join the process.

However, in April this year the Taliban responded with their spring offensive simultaneously across 42 different locations in Afghanistan causing heavy civilian suffering, and “proving once again that they are irreconcilable to peaceful political initiatives.”

Slamming the “unforthcoming attitude” of Pakistan, he said other QCG members have remained committed or even given effect to their words for the peace process.

He said that “provocative actions” along the de-facto separation line including illegal construction of military installations, abuse of Afghan nationals and restrictions on trade and transit have been escalated “by our neighbour.”

Torkham Pass provocation

“Most recently, and in contravention of bilaterally agreed consultation mechanisms, our neighbour attempted to build new infrastructure at Torkham Pass, thereby provoking a needless military clash with casualties on both sides. The situation, a threat to international peace and security, remains tense with devastating impact on trade and transit,” he said in a clear reference to Pakistan.

He said an Afghan delegation is currently in Islamabad, exploring a diplomatic breakthrough for a diplomatic solution to the illegal construction at Torkham Pass.

“We hope the voice of reason will prevail but our message is very clear: make no mistake, the proud government and people of Afghanistan have not, do not and will not surrender to intimidation, violence, and aggression. Our history is a testimony to this,” he said