There are no terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, a senior diplomat has told the UN Security Council during a discussion on the security situation in Afghanistan. The denial from Pakistan came at a time when, both US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have warned Islamabad of having terror safe havens in its soil.
“There are no such safe havens. The only havens that exist for the insurgents — and for Daesh and other terrorists -are within the 40 per cent of Afghan territory, which is outside the control of the Afghan government,” Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said in her address to an open debate on Afghanistan.
Lodhi told the Security Council that peace will not be restored by the continuing resort to military force. Indeed, it is evident after years of war, that neither Kabul and the coalition, nor the Afghan Taliban, can impose a military solution on each other, she said.
“The promotion of a political settlement and the pursuit of a military solution are mutually incompatible. You cannot kill and talk at the same time. Another resort to the military option will not produce a result different from the past. It will not break the impasse much less yield a political solution,” the Pakistani diplomat said.
Lodhi said 16 years of war, waged by the world’s most powerful forces against an insurgency of irregulars, has not yielded a military solution. This failure cannot be explained away by alleging the existence of safe havens for the insurgency across the border, she said.
“Apart from the conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban-led insurgency, a new and vicious threat has emerged in Afghanistan: the presence of a conglomerate of terrorists from various parts of the world: the TIP, ETIM; IMU and other groups which have all now adopted the umbrella of Daesh,” she said.
“These terrorists are now located in the 40 per cent of Afghan territory which, according to a recent US Pentagon report is either out of Kabul’s control or is contested. It appears that Daesh’s “core”, under pressure in Iraq and Syria, may be relocating to these ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan,” Lodhi said.
Observing that securing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and preventing cross border terrorism is essential for both countries, Lodhi said this can be achieved only through constant vigilance, effective management and real-time communication. Terrorists should not be allowed to provoke clashes between our border security forces, she said.