Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi on Thursday claimed that “terrorist safe havens exist in ungoverned areas of Afghanistan, not Pakistan.”

Lodhi said that peace in Afghanistan cannot be restored through continued military force. She said neither Kabul nor the NATO coalition, nor the Afghan Taliban, could impose a military solution on each other, according Pakistani media reports.

“The promotion of a political settlement and the pursuit of a military solution are mutually incompatible. You cannot kill and talk at the same time,” the Pakistani envoy told the UN Security Council during an open debate on the situation in Afghanistan.

“Another resort to the military option will not produce a result different from the past. It will not break the impasse much less yield a political solution,” Lodhi said, urging the Taliban to give up violence, stressing that the other side must also display a genuine desire for dialogue.

She said the violence and terrorism afflicting Afghanistan are the consequences of foreign military interventions, occupation and an imposed war.

Sustainable peace in Afghanistan is only achievable through a negotiated end to the war, a course long advocated by Pakistan, she said.

The envoy said 16 years of war, waged by the world’s most powerful forces against an “insurgency of irregulars”, had not yielded a military solution.

“This failure cannot be explained away by alleging the existence of safe havens for the insurgency across the border,” she said.

Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported that denying US allegations about the presence of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, Lodhi said such enclaves exist in areas of Afghanistan that are not under government control.

Her comment comes as the United States Vice President Mike Pence who arrived in Afghanistan on a surprise visit on Thursday night, warned Pakistan against offering safe havens to terrorist groups on its soil.

He reiterated word for word US President Donald Trump’s warning that Pakistan must stop offering cross-border safe havens to Taliban factions and armed militant groups fighting US troops and their Afghan allies, AFP reported.

“Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with the United States, and Pakistan has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists,” Pence said. “President Trump has put Pakistan on notice.”

As he thanked the US troops for their service, the vice president told them that they have put the Taliban on the run.

“The American people deserve to know that with the courage of everyone gathered here, we’re making real progress in this fight for freedom in Afghanistan,” Pence said.
The US vice president’s visit comes just months after Trump unveiled his new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.

He said the new US strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia is a good opportunity towards a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and region. He stressed on the implementation of the strategy.


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