WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Ambassador to United States Jalil Abbas Jilani rejected assertions made in an editorial in The New York Times newspaper, blaming Pakistan for the mess in Afghanistan.
He said that the mess in Afghanistan was rather the result of collective failure of the international community. “The May 12 editorial about Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan is biased and negates the complex history of this prolonged conflict,” he said in a rejoinder to the editorial page editor.
Allegations of duplicity and double game were extremely painful as Pakistan has suffered the most due to war in Afghanistan, he said. “Pakistan cannot be held responsible for the mess in Afghanistan which is the result of the collective failure of the international community,” he said.
Alluding to the colossal loss Pakistan has suffered due to war in Afghanistan, he stated that hundreds of suicide bombings and tens of thousands of civilian casualties were the direct result of the US led war in Afghanistan after 9/11. “Instead of complaining about the heavy cost imposed on us due to sustained external intervention in our neighbourhood, Pakistan has consistently cooperated with the US and coalition forces in sharing intelligence and decimating the terror outfits,” he added.
He drew the attention of the publication to the fact that since 2009, Pakistani forces have been engaged in incremental operations to clear the Pakistani soil from all the terrorist networks concentrated in this area because of the competing interests and mutual rivalries of the big powers. “It is Pakistan’s military which ‘fractured the back of Taliban’ through indiscriminate counter-terrorism operations.”
Instead of putting the entire blame on Pakistan, it would have been better had the editorial also commented on the protracted Afghan refugee issue and lack of border management among the underlying reasons for regional instability, he added. “Omitting such fundamental questions that impede a long term solution to the Afghan problem smack partisanship on part of The New York Times,” he said.
He made it clear that Pakistan did not benefit from instability in Afghanistan and always wished them peace and prosperity. “To this end, we are pursuing mutually beneficial economic integration through the policy of a peaceful neighborhood.” On May 11, the CASA 1000 projected was inaugurated which will bring Pakistan and Afghanistan closer, he pointed out.
He further said that Pakistan played a completely neutral role in the Afghan elections and offered all possible assistance to the Ghani government to find a political solution in his country. Referring to the Quadrilateral group, which involves the US, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said that this process has rightly agreed that the long-term peace in Afghanistan can only be achieved through reconciliation between the various Afghan stake holders.
“It is imperative that this peace initiative be given a chance to succeed what the war has failed to achieve in the last fifteen years,” the ambassador said.