Pakistan cannot act as proxy to fight US war in Afghanistan: Khawaja Asif
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan desires peace in Afghanistan but will not compromise to act as a proxy and fight the United States’ war in the country, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on Wednesday.
The foreign minister was addressing the Senate session chaired by Raza Rabbani over the visit of United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Pakistan on Tuesday. Khwaja Asif reminded that relations with US were seven decades old but several compromises were made in the past by respective governments and it would be more ideal to discuss Tillerson’s visit.
He said that Pakistan desires peace in Afghanistan and is making efforts, but a large portion of the restive nation is controlled by the Islamic State. “Daesh is in control of forty-five percent of Afghanistan” he stated.
“We have not made any compromise over (US President) Trump’s speech,” he said adding a compromise was made after the 9/11 attacks and the effects are still seen. “US efforts in our neighbourhood will not succeed,” he said. “The Afghan government is facilitating India in the region.”
Khawaja Asif said that US has failed against the Afghan Taliban but is not willing to admit its mistakes over his policy which has yielded no results since the last sixteen years. “We have informed them that those leading are the one who have lost the war,” he said. “Those who have failed will never develop a policy to admit their shortcomings.”
“We have also told them to let the politicians there decide the policy,” he said and several ISAF and Centcom commanders have failed with their policies and are instead blaming Pakistan.
On the contrary, the foreign minister said that Pakistan has seen several successes in the war against terrorism and its armed forces and law-enforcement agencies have made tremendous sacrifices.
“We are the nation which has stood up against a super power,” he said that Pakistan is self-respecting nation which has stood up against the United States.
“Our government is not at the mercy of the United States,” he said adding that previous governments were reliant on the US for its power survival. “My strength lies in the parliament and the people,” adding that the government has not yielded to any pressure in the last two months.
Speaking over Tillerson’s brief visit, he said that entire civil-military leadership was united and gave its input and was not apologetic. The US was told that Pakistan would act on ‘actionable intelligence’ provided to them such as in the recent release of a US-Canadian couple.
However, he said that it is unacceptable for Pakistan to be a proxy and fight the United States war in Afghanistan. “Let me assure the House that we will not compromise on our sovereignty, dignity.”
“We have clearly told them we do not want any economic, military aid or any materialistic needs, but rather a relationship on equal grounds and respect.”
He said there was no military solution to the problem in Afghanistan but rather a political solution. The dialogue, he informed, with the US was held in a conducive environment with no accusations.
Furthermore, the role of regional countries including China, Iran, Russia and Turkey is also crucial in Afghanistan, and the influence of Pakistan over the Afghan Taliban has diminished over the years.
“We used our influence and brought them to the table,” he said but the US killed Taliban leader Mullah Aktar Mansour which reduced their influence over them.
He said that several US leaders can make statements negating the role of Pakistan, but it will act in self-restraint and hope to maintain cordial relations with them.
He said that Tillerson was informed that US spent 1.7 trillion dollars in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and should spend more to repatriate all Afghan refugees back to their country, but the US said that the conditions were not conducive in the country.