Pakistan desires good ties with US, Afghanistan: NSA

Durable peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of regional countries including Pakistan, says Dr Moeed Yusuf


APP June 29, 2021
National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yousuf. PHOTO COURTESY: USIP

ISLAMABAD:

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf on Monday said Pakistan wanted to have good relations with the United States and Afghanistan.

"Durable peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of regional countries including Pakistan," he said in an interview with a private television channel.

He stressed the need for resolving Afghan issue on political grounds. Commenting on abrupt changes in Afghanistan, he said after the withdrawal of American forces, there is need to maintain stability and security in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan had strong desires to continue trade relations with the neighbouring country.

He further stated that concerned authorities in Afghanistan should review the tariff and trade matters for executing business activities in this region.

Read more: India a rogue state: Moeed Yusuf

When asked about media reports regarding Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s recent stopovers in Doha to meet with the Taliban leadership in the Qatari capital twice in the last three weeks, the NSA said it is "shameless" of India to engage the Afghan Taliban after having supported operations against the insurgent group for a long time.

"With what [moral] standing did this Indian high-level official meet [the Taliban] there? Did they not feel ashamed?" Yusuf said when asked how Pakistan viewed the India-Taliban meetings.

"[The Indians] kept having the Taliban killed daily and kept giving funds for operations against them and today they have reached there to have talks," he added.

He said the meetings were "a matter of shame" and not a strategic move.

Yusuf emphasised that the Taliban whom the Indians had met were also "not stupid", saying he was not concerned by the contacts between India and the insurgent group amid the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"You should also ask what response the [Indians] got from the [Taliban]," he added.

Speaking about Pakistan-India relations, the NSA said there were no backdoor talks or dialogue between the two countries for now, but that Pakistan was waiting for what had been conveyed to New Delhi.

‘’India contacted us [and said] that they wanted to fix [relations] and we told them we desired the restoration of pre-August 2019 status of Indian-occupied Kashmir; besides, our policy is based on the ease of life for Kashmiris,’’ he stated, adding they the Indians had been conveyed that Pakistan wanted to see the desired change on the ground.

Asked about the possibility of Pakistan getting the heat of the US-China rivalry, Yusuf said the country might face a tough situation if it gave up on its principles. "If you don’t take a stand then when the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled," he added.

The NSA remarked that no one was stopping the European Union and US to invest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and other projects in the country. 

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