OPINION

Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism

This refers to a commentary entitled ‘An Afghan-Pakistani Strategy’ by Mr Daniel Korski, which appeared in the News and Comment columns of your esteemed newspaper (July 9). This commentary made certain references to Pakistan’s campaign against terrorism and extremism. We would like to clarify that the Government of Pakistan is fully committed to fighting terrorism in its own interest. We do not provide safe havens to terrorists, nor do we aid them in their actions across the border in Afghanistan. Pakistan wholeheartedly supports a stable, united and peaceful Afghanistan. Despite our limited resources, we continue to host over 3 million Afghan refugees – since the Soviet invasion of that country in 1979. It is not fair to blame Pakistan all the time for all the troubles that beleaguer Afghanistan. We have deployed over 100,000 troops along the Pakistan-Afghan border to prevent both infiltration into, and exfiltration from, Afghanistan. We urge our Afghan brothers to deploy their troops on their side of our international borders to intercept militants. We need to understand that the continuing violence in Afghanistan is strictly internal. It’s genesis and dynamics lay within that country. Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism because of the spillover of violence from Afghanistan into our country. The past 9/11 events revealed that the scourge of terrorism cannot be fought by military means alone. It requires a holistic, multi-pronged strategy. Keeping this in view, Pakistan has engaged tribal elders and other influential figures, and is talking peace with those who have agreed to lay down their arms. We do not negotiate with terrorists. Additionally, we need to abolish poverty, give development incentives, improve governance, and provide health, education and information facilities for the «terrorism affected» areas. The use of force against militant groups is only one of the options. The above clarification may kindly be published in your esteemed newspaper. SHAH FAISAL KAKAR, Head of Chancery, Pakistani Embassy, Athens.