Pakistan cautions against outside involvement in Afghanistan

Pakistan on Wednesday cautioned against any external involvement in Afghanistan, saying no regional or extra regional state should be allowed to manipulate the situation in that country.

“There is no doubt that Afghanistan stills needs international assistance through sustained, pragmatic and prudent engagement. Non-intervention and Non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, however, must be a cardinal element of this engagement,” Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told the Security Council.

“The long-term objectives of peace, stability and development in Afghanistan can be realized only by respecting its sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity,” he said while speaking in a debate on the situation in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Haroon said that Pakistan had vital stakes in the viability of Afghanistan, since in the history of human conflict, no neighbour of another country had suffered more than Pakistan from the consequences of conflict and human tragedy in Afghanistan.

“In their progress we see our progress and in their woes we see our woes,” the Pakistani envoy said.

Praising Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report in many areas, he said the insurgency needed to be eliminated as a priority, without seeking to externalize the problem. In addition, political reform must address the root causes of the insurgency.

Haroon extended his Government’s full support to President Hamid Karzai’s agenda, as articulated in his inaugural speech, in which, among other elements, the Afghan leader vowed to fight corruption.

He also supported the continuing role of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), including its plans to open provincial offices.

Pakistan was committed to further strengthening friendly bilateral ties with Afghanistan, in the spirit of the Joint Declaration signed in 2009, noting that his country’s assistance package for Afghanistan was the biggest cooperation programme Islamabad had with any country and included elaborate human resource development programmes.

Afghanistan was also Pakistan’s third largest trading partner, he said, adding that two countries also had security and intelligence cooperation. He looked forward to the upcoming conference on international cooperation on Afghanistan in London, while repeating his cautions over international involvement in the country.

The ambassador supported the voluntary and dignified return of over 3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and stressed the need for sustained efforts at creating the necessary “pull-factors” in Afghanistan, including reintegration programmes within the development strategy, which required international support.

In general, he said, the milestone of a decade of international engagement with Afghanistan that was nearing completion called for a genuine reappraisal.

Reiterating his cautions about the perils of external involvement, he recalled that, prior to the first Afghan war (1839-42), the British envoy William McNaughton “signalled the Governor of Calcutta, ‘all is well’. He was murdered the next day”.
—The Nation

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