ISLAMABAD: Afghan Foreign Minister Dr Zalmai Rassoul will raise the issue of “Pakistan’s rocket shelling” on Afghan border regions in the United Nations as Kabul is “deeply concerned” at the cross-border rocketing, an Afghan foreign ministry spokesman told The Express Tribune on Thursday.
Dr Faramarz Tamanna, deputy Afghan foreign ministry spokesperson, said the Afghan government will seek international help to resolve the issue.
The Afghan foreign minister has reached the US and will highlight the issue of cross-border rocket attacks in his speech to the UN Security Council, Dr Tamanna said on the phone from Kabul.
“Rassoul will talk about this issue in his speech and will express deep concerns over the Pakistani shelling,” he said, adding that the foreign minister will talk about the negative impact of the shelling, Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, regional security and the war on terror.
Asked if he thinks Pakistan and Afghanistan have failed to resolve the problem bilaterally, the spokesperson said that Kabul was still confident that both neighbours can resolve the issue.
“We believe the two countries can resolve the problem through diplomatic channels but we need to understand each other.”
He said Afghanistan had discussed the issue with Pakistan’s prime minister, foreign minister and others, “but these meetings have not yielded positive results yet.”
“In this critical situation we hope Pakistan has to do more to establish security in Afghanistan as peace and security here is related to the region.”
He informed The Express Tribune that a trilateral meeting of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United Kingdom will also be held in New York on September 26. The trilateral process started during the visit of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to Kabul in July when he joined British Prime Minister David Cameron and Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the meeting.
“We seek more help from Pakistan in the war on terror and promotion of the peace process in Afghanistan,” the spokesperson said.
On their part, Pakistani officials contend that fugitive Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants, led by senior cadres Maulvi Fazlullah and Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, are using Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nuristan provinces as a springboard for launching attacks on Pakistani security forces. Pakistan says its forces only retaliate when militants from the Afghan soil launch attacks on their border posts and villages.
Afghan officials, on the other hand, accuse Pakistani security forces of targeting Afghan civilians in the two provinces with mortar and artillery shelling.
The foreign ministry spokesperson said that Afghanistan will take tangible steps to find the solution to Pakistan’s rocketing on Afghan soil as “we are responsible for the rights and security of Afghans”.
But analysts think the move could be futile. “Pakistan and Afghanistan can resolve the issue bilaterally or can seek help of friendly countries rather than going to the United Nations. But If Kabul intends to raise this issue in the UN, Pakistan will also do the same,” Ayaz Wazir, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2012.