National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf has said that Pakistan would not accept the ‘forceful takeover’ in Afghanistan and instead support the political solution to the conflict.
“We will not accept a forceful takeover,” he told reporters at a press conference held at the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC late Wednesday, wrapping up a week of talks with the U.S. administration.
The NSA stressed that the only solution for peace in Afghanistan was a “political one”.
“We have made it absolutely clear that we are with the international community on where this goes,” he said. “But the world also needs to be clear that the U.S. invest in a political settlement.”
Dr Yusuf said the harsh rhetoric of the Afghan government against Pakistan was making it impossible to maintain good relations between the neighbours.
“We are beginning to see a very conscious, deliberate effort by the Afghan government to scapegoat Pakistan,” he said, adding that Afghanistan wanted “to shift the entire blame of its failures.”
He said Pakistan wanted to have very good relations with the Afghan government, however “unfortunately, the vitriol and rhetoric coming from there is making that impossible.”
He urged the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to “compromise and reach a peace settlement” as the insurgents made rapid gains amid a US troop withdrawal.
He stressed that the internationally recognized government in Kabul needed to stop looking for a military victory and should include a broader range of Afghans in any future talks.
“There will have to be some compromise given the ground reality. But the violence will have to stop,” he said.
Yusuf said his U.S. counterpart, Jake Sullivan, and others in President Joe Biden’s administration did not make specific requests of Pakistan, but discussed “how quickly we can get all these actors in one room to have a sincere conversation.”
He dismissed talk of Islamabad exerting leverage over the Taliban.
“Whatever limited leverage we had, we used,” he said, pointing to Pakistan encouraging the Taliban to enter talks with the Afghan government in Doha.
“Now with the troops withdrawal, that leverage has logically gone down further,” he added.
Dr Yusuf said Pakistan was no longer in a position to accept Afghan refugees as it currently hosts about 3.5 million.
“Peace in Afghanistan is nonnegotiable for us,” he said. “We, under no circumstances, are prepared to see protracted instability that in the past has caused spillover into Pakistan.” – APP