Pakistan offers transit routes to int’l donors for Afghan aid: NSA

ISLAMABAD: National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf on Thursday said that Pakistan was offering its air and land routes, including access to local markets, to international donor agencies to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

In an interview with PTV News, the NSA highlighted the plight of Afghan people, who were at the brink of a catastrophe due to the cold harsh weather and the looming threat of famine.

Dr Moeed said that there were two main reasons why Pakistan was flagging the impending Afghan crisis: first, it was Pakistan’s responsibility to alert the world community of it.

“Any instability in Afghanistan will have a spillover effect on Pakistan. It is not the matter of Taliban rather 35-40 million Afghan people that the world is worried about and need their support,” he stated.

Secondly, he said that right now the focus was on humanitarian assistance. “If they [the Afghan people] do not get the international aid then they will die in the winters due to hunger and cold,” claimed the NSA, adding that Pakistan was trying to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan but cannot afford to do it for long.

“We can play a role in ensuring aid for Afghanistan but there are international sanctions, and it can’t be provided within those restrictions,” he said.

The NSA further stated that these sanctions were halting the banking system in Afghanistan and Pakistan was merely supporting the Afghans to improve the situation.

Dr Moeed underlined that despite all the reasons, including what kind of leadership existed in Afghanistan, Pakistan wanted to collaborate with the Afghan people.

He reiterated that the international community should provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghans and also work out ways towards institutional building in the war-torn country.

“Any government in Afghanistan will demand aid and legitimacy. The leverage [of this] is with the US, UK and other developed countries. They should send aid and then desire acceptable outcomes,” he added.

He maintained that Pakistan will agree with the international decision on the Afghan regime’s legitimacy, adding that the fugitives of the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan were a threat to both the US and Pakistan, and the issue could be tackled through dialogue.

On the resurgence of terrorism in Pakistan, Dr Moeed claimed that the counter-terrorism and intelligence capacity of the country had augmented in the past decade and there was no threat of any resurgence.

“The splinter groups in Afghanistan are a threat for Pakistan and it’s the responsibility of the state to ensure the protection of its people. We are just gauging the sincerity of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan [TTP] for dialogue,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s terms were clear on that matter.

Responding to a question regarding Afghanistan’s former vice president Amrullah Saleh’s allegations levelled against Pakistan, the NSA stated that “Amrullah Saleh was part of the power process for 20 years when $2 trillion investment came to Afghanistan. I always asked who stopped him from improving governance in the country.”


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