War in Afghanistan will not be fought on Pakistan’s soil: Khurram Dastagir

Published: January 3, 2018
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Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan. PHOTO: PID/FILE

Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan. PHOTO: PID/FILE

Reacting to the United States President Donald Trump’s recent statement against Pakistan, Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan on Wednesday warned the US against any attempt to bring the war in Afghanistan to Pakistan’s soil.

Pakistan was fully prepared to cooperate with the US in bringing peace back to Afghanistan, he said during an interview to BBC Urdu.

“However, if the US is expecting that the Afghanistan’s war can be fought on Pakistan’s soil then let me be very clear, it will never happen,” he remarked.

Pakistan will not take the responsibility of Afghanistan if the US tried to blame the country for its failures in Afghanistan, said the minister, adding that Pakistan respected the sovereignty of Afghanistan and the latter should return the favour.

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Responding to a query regarding any possible one-sided US action in Pakistan, Dastagir said, “Donald Trump is a highly temperamental person, therefore any such possibility can’t be completely ruled out.”

He, however, added that chances of such an action were very slim as the US was aware that by doing so it would leave Pakistan with very limited options.

Commenting on the government’s recent plans to takeover Hafiz Saeed’s charity Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD), the minister said the actions were linked to ongoing Operation Raddul Fasaad and not taken due to mounting pressure from the US.

Action against JuD is being taken with due diligence so that the future of Pakistan can be secured and ‘terrorists cannot open fire on school children anymore’.

Declaring ‘India’s indirect role’ as the main reason behind strained ties between Pakistan and the US, Khan said India was also using Afghanistan’s soil against Pakistan.

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He said masses, elected representatives and the military in Pakistan all had serious reservations regarding the negative and threatening tone adopted by the US leadership in the recent tweets and speeches, which he added was contrary to that used by US high officials during formal meetings.

The defence minister said that half of Pakistan’s air space and land routes were still open to the US and without them, its reach in Afghanistan would be highly affected. “Therefore, the US should prefer cooperation with Pakistan instead of ‘do more and notices’,” he added.

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