A month after US President Donald Trump warned Islamabad against providing safe havens to terrorists, Pakistan’s prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday said that it cannot be a “scapegoat” for Afghanistan’s bloodshed and refused to endorse any “failed strategy” that will prolong the suffering of the people in the region.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Abbasi did not explicitly criticise US president Donald Trump’s new strategy on Afghanistan but made clear his displeasure with the renewed onus on Pakistan and claimed that there are no Taliban safe havens in his country.
“Having suffered and sacrificed so much due to our role in the global counter terrorism campaign, it is especially galling for Pakistan to be blamed for the military or political stalemate in Afghanistan,” Abbasi said.
“We are not prepared to be anyone’s scapegoat. Taliban ‘safe havens’ are located not in Pakistan but in the large tracts of territory controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan,” he said
Yes, cross-border attacks do occur. These are mostly conducted by anti-Pakistan terrorists from ‘safe havens’ across the border. To end all cross-border attacks we ask the Afghanistan government and the Coalition to support and complement Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to strengthen border controls and monitor all movement across it,” Abbasi said.
However, he said that what Pakistan is not prepared to do is to fight the Afghanistan war on Pakistan’s soil. “Nor can it endorse any failed strategy that will prolong and intensify the suffering of the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and other regional countries,” Abbasi said in an apparent rebuttal of Trump’s new South Asia policy.
Abbasi said that 27,000 Pakistanis have been killed by extremists since the launch of the US war on terror after the 11 September, 2001 attacks.
Abbasi called for a priority on eliminating extremists, including from the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda, in Afghanistan but ultimately a political solution with the Taliban