Pakistan

Pakistan’s concerns on Indian role in Afghanistan overestimated: Olson

Olson

WASHINGTON: Dismissing Pakistan’s concerns completely, the United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson has said that India’s role in Afghanistan has been overestimated by Pakistan.

Instead, Mr Olson advised Pakistan to pay more attention to its fight against terrorism.

Speaking to a gathering at the Atlantic Council in Washington, the US envoy was not impressed with Pakistan’s complaints about strong Indian involvement in Afghanistan to stir instability in its Balochistan province.

“India has been a supportive partner for Afghanistan. It has provided a limited amount but important military assistance (to Afghanistan),” urged Mr Olson.


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The US envoy made the statement when he was asked to comment on the view in Pakistan that India had set up 24 consulates in Afghanistan.

In a bid to describe how the apparent Indian threat was overstated in Pakistan, he said, there were only “four Indian consulates in Afghanistan”.

“I sometimes feel that the degree of Indian influence on Afghanistan may be overestimated in Pakistan,” Mr Olson added while reminding Pakistan that it needed more to focus on its own security issues.


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Acknowledging Operation Zarb-e-Azb in Waziristan that helped Pakistan stabilising its economy and curbing militancy at the same time, he said “Pakistan will not be secure, until and unless” it took action against terrorist groups, for instance, the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

“Pakistan will not have a bright future until and unless it goes after the Taliban,” Mr Olson warned.

He also announced that the US would give over $3 billion per year in support for the Afghan national security forces from 2018 through 2020. He said the administration has planned to ask Congress for $1bn a year in development and economic assistance for Afghanistan during the same period.

Mr Olson, who was also the US Ambassador to Pakistan before taking up his present assignment, appreciated Pakistan’s loyalty to the Afghan peace process.

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