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US action important to improve Afghan situation: official

WASHINGTON, Feb 15:  Noting that there is a direct link between security situation in Afghanistan and terror safe havens in Pakistan, a top Afghan diplomat has said unless the US takes meaningful action to “severe” that connection, both Kabul and Washington will continue to suffer.

“You cannot talk about the state of security in Afghanistan without talking about the state of terrorists’ havens and support provided by Pakistan. The two are intrinsically connected. One is the cause; the other is the effect,” Afghan Ambassador to the US Hamdullah Mohib told a Washington audience on Monday.

“Until the US takes meaningful action to severe that connection, our two countries prolonged in costly joint effort against terrorism in the Af-Pak region cannot succeed. This isn’t a subjective opinion. This is an objective fact. Victory requires a paradigm shift in American thinking about Pakistan,” Mohib said.

He lashed out at Pakistan for its continued support to terrorist safe havens inside its territory.

Mohib welcomed the recent Congressional testimony of General John Nicholson, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, in which he called for a holistic review of US relations with Pakistan.

“This is very encouraging to hear,” he said, alleging that Pakistan is playing the role of a spoiler in his war-torn country.

“Every neighbour can play two roles. In this case, it’s an active spoiler in Afghanistan in being able to provide sanctuaries, support to – we have witnessed in the past – at least in the past two years, if we’re not going too far behind,” he said.

Mohib alleged that that Afghan-Taliban leaders travel under Pakistani passports.

“They’re provided with hospital and medical support. We saw where the head of the Al-Qaeda was. Those things highlight quite a few important factors. That is, this is – the shift of making it sound like it’s a blame game is no longer viable. This is objective facts. All of those things have happened, and they have happened in the recent past. So they cannot be forgotten so quickly,” he said.

“If Pakistan wants to to save itself, what we’re worried about is that that affects Pakistan’s future itself. Those terrorists do not recognise those boundaries as the restrictions to them and would soon turn their own weapons on Pakistan,” Mohib said, warning Pakistan of the consequences of supporting terrorist groups.

He alleged that Pakistan was taking action against only those terrorist groups which pose a threat to it and not against those who targets neighbouring countries.

“What is happening to us today can become the future of Pakistan. And for that reason as well, I think it’s in the interest of the Pakistani administration to assist us in eliminating the terrorists from that region. Sincerely assist, not just say and talk about it. We need to see some actions,” he said.

“We have always had good words from Pakistan and it continues to be the case. They speak about cooperation and they always have very good ways and words to put it in,” he said. (PTI)

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