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FO clarifies Qureshi’s remarks about Afghanistan

The Foreign Office has clarified has issued a clarification regarding comments attributed to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi about Daesh militants in Afghanistan.

“It is regrettable that certain sections of the media have misquoted and twisted the foreign minister’s remarks about the need for peace and stability in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process,” said the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri.

He clarified that the foreign minister had “clearly spoken” about the consensus among the international community, the regional players and the Afghans themselves “against the menace of terrorism”.

“His remarks cannot be in anyway be misconstrued as advocacy for a particular side in the Afghan conflict,” he added.

“We have repeatedly stated that Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan. We see all sides in the conflict as Afghans who need to decide about their future themselves. We will continue to play a constructive facilitation role in the Afghan peace process,” he added.

Chaudhri said that all energies should be focused on finding an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan.

A few days ago, FM Qureshi’s statement in which he categorically stated that it was the Afghanistan government’s responsiblity to monitor presence of Daesh in the country and keep it from growing, was misinterpreted by the media.

Addressing a press conference at Multan’s Raza Hall on Saturday, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the Afghan forces had the capacity to combat Daesh in Afghanistan.

“Nobody wants ISIS to grow. They [the Afghan government] don’t want it, the Taliban don’t want it, Iran doesn’t want it, [Afghanistan’s] neighbours don’t want it and the international community doesn’t want it,” the foreign minister said.

In response to a query that Moscow says Daesh militants were arriving in Afghanistan from Iraq, Libya and Syria for terrorism, he said it was the responsibility of the Afghan government to monitor the militants and keep them from growing in Afghanistan.

“If they are shifting from Iraq and Syria, whose responsibility should it be to check them? It’s the Afghan government’s!”

They are shifting to Afghanistan’s sovereign territory. Who should be keeping an eye on them? Who should be monitoring them? It is the Afghan government’s responsibility,” the foreign minister said.

“I hope they will not neglect their responsibility,” he added.

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