Maleeha asks Afghanistan to focus on improving security

Envoy says Pakistan ready to help address shared threat of violent extremists

Pakistan’s Ambassador to United Nations Maleeha Lodhi has said that Afghanistan should turn its attention to reversing the deteriorating security situation in the country instead of blaming Pakistan.

“We are ready to help address the shared threat of violent extremists to the region but for that, Afghanistan should desist from externalising its internal problems,” she said in response to questions during an interview with the Voice of America (VOA).

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In Afghanistan, the surge in violence seems to indicate the spreading influence of the Islamic State about which “we have long warned,” she pointed out. “The ability of violent groups to infiltrate Kabul’s green zone also suggests insider connections which are even more worrying,” she said, referring to a truck explosion on Wednesday.

Recalling that Pakistan had strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, she said the rapid slide in the security situation was troubling not only for Afghanistan but for all its neighbours, especially Pakistan. Those attacks also seemed to be aimed at scuttling plans for initiating a renewed peace and reconciliation effort by elements opposed to the process, she said, without using the name of India.

Related: ‘India behind terrorism in Pakistan, Afghanistan’

“But whoever may be responsible for the latest spate of brutal attacks, the Afghan government would do better to focus on this growing threat rather than hurl baseless accusations against Pakistan,” Ambassador Maleeha said. “The timing of the attacks on Kabul suggests those who carried them out want to sabotage any renewed effort towards a negotiated peace,” she said.

TADAMICHI YAMAMOTO: The UN envoy to Afghanistan called for measures to halt the cycle of violence following Wednesday’s deadly attack. “I urge everyone not to respond to violence with more violence,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan.

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He underscored that the incident follows so much violence this week across the country, in Khost, in Kabul and in other provinces. “Meaningful steps must take place now to obtain an immediate, nationwide halt to violence. I encourage all parties to enter discussions toward that end. The United Nations stands ready to help,” the envoy said.

He also urged all members of the international community to help put an end the cycle of violence and support the foundations of a lasting peace. The upcoming Kabul meeting on regional peace and security provides an immediate opportunity in that regard.

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