Afghanistan’s role as facilitator for India not acceptable: Khawaja Asif

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By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan has rejected Afghanistan’s role of facilitator for India, saying such an efforts could only derail the process of peace and stability in the region.
“ Afghanistan’s role as a facilitator for India is not acceptable to Pakistan”, said Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Asif in the upper house of Parliament, Senate on Wednesday.
Asif said nearly 45 per cent of Afghanistan’s territory was under Daesh control, adding that terrorists would not need Pakistan for their hideouts as they have ample space available in Afghanistan.
The foreign minister was referring to allegations levelled against the country on harbouring terrorists.
However, he said, Pakistan has managed to restore peace in its territory to a great extent and the number of drone strikes has decreased as compared to previous years.
“We have fought away the elements that were the cause of drone strikes in Pakistan.”
During his speech, Asif said Pakistan is not a superpower but is a nation that has sacrificed its people during the fight against terrorism. The foreign minister added Pakistan had agreed on reconciliation in the past but it was to no avail.
“We would be sent a list [of terrorists],” he said. “We have made the arrests [asked from us] and handed over.” He added the list provided to the Pakistani authorities has Haqqani on the top.
While talking about US’ role in fight against terrorism, Asif said even the commanders of CENTCOM failed in Afghanistan. The foreign minister reiterated his earlier statement in which he had said US cannot succeed in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s help. However, during his speech in the Senate on Wednesday, Asif said Pakistan will continue its fight against terrorism, “but will not serve as anyone’s proxy”.
Asif also said the country had to make a compromise following the 9/11 attacks, and today the country has to pay a price for it. He added that the incumbent government did not compromise on national interest as former military ruler Pervez Musharraf did and neither were orders taken [from US].
There is a “huge trust deficit” between Pakistan and the US over the Afghan conflict, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told the BBC.
“There is basically one key factor which is missing in our relationship that is trust. We have a huge trust deficit. We are desperately trying, both parties Americans and Pakistanis to bridge this trust deficit.”
The foreign minister stressed that Pakistan did not have terrorist safe havens and the US was not buying Pakistan’s narrative, neither was Pakistan buying the narrative of the US. “But we are talking. They must do some self-accountability also. Why have they lost 45% of Afghan territory in last 10-12 years.”

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