Terrorists don’t need bases in Pakistan with huge Afghan territory in control: Asif

Terrorists don’t need bases in Pakistan with huge Afghan territory in control: Asif: ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday denied that any terrorist groups have bases in Pakistan and said terrorists do not need bases in Pakistan as large swathes of Afghan territory are not under their government’s control.

The foreign minister, speaking on a program, said they informed Afghanistan that their territory was being used for attacks in Pakistan, the Afghan government said that up to 40 per cent of their territory was not under their control.

Asif asked why the terrorists would need bases in Pakistan when they can freely operate in Afghanistan.

“They (terrorists) do not need bases inside Pakistan if they have such a huge area to operate from in Afghanistan,” he said.

Referring to US President Donald Trump’s speech, the foreign minister said that he was not surprised by the speech outlining the new regional policy.

He said that they had an idea that such statement might come from Trump for the US had to blame someone, however, added that they had already conveyed their viewpoint to power corridors in Washington.

President Trump on Tuesday cleared the way for the deployment of thousands more US troops to Afghanistan, backtracking from his promise to rapidly end America´s longest war while pillorying ally Pakistan for offering safe haven to “agents of chaos.”

“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said, warning that vital aid could be cut. “That will have to change and that will change immediately.”

Asif said they wanted to give a coordinated response to Trump’s statement, which would have input from the government, military and intelligence community, which is why it took a couple of days.

Asked about possibility of any US incursion into Pakistan, the minister said, “I cannot comment if they are thinking so. But I ask what have they achieved in the past with such drone attacks and incursions.”

He said that they would make all efforts for a political solution. “We are victims of terrorism, we have been on the forefront of this war.”

Asif went on to question as to who enabled the Taliban to operate freely inside Afghanistan and raise funds necessary to wage the insurgency.

“Vast tracts of land in Afghanistan were lost to the Taliban, while drug production grew there by more than 3000 percent following the US invasion.”

Commenting on his visit to the US, the foreign minister said: “The dates for the visit are tentative, but we will present our point of view in front of them.”

Referring to Iran, he said the Iranian government is keen to see a peaceful Afghanistan.

Speaking about former Taliban supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s killing, Asif said Mansour entered into Pakistan from Iran and the purpose of his killing inside Pakistani territory was to convey a message that he was killed on Pakistani soil.

He also criticised the US for its unclear stance on Taliban. “The US is demanding two things; one to kill the Taliban and at the same time to convince them for talks.

“We had influence over the Taliban in the past, but now they have found new shelters; there exist some other countries in our region as well.”

The foreign minister said the US has to face humiliation in the past, suggesting it to mend its ways.

“For us, Pakistan’s peace is paramount,” he said, noting that Pakistan even had its three-star generals martyred in this war against terrorism. “We do not need US assistance; what we are looking for is trust.”

Asif further said that Pakistan’s agreements with US should also be made public. “Where the [US] drones fly from and where do they return everything should come to light.”


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