Pakistan rubbishes US congressman's accusations over Kabul fall

Unfortunate to mischaracterise Pakistan's role in Afghanistan, says Islamabad's ambassador to Washington


Anadolu Agency September 01, 2021
An image grab taken from Qatar-based Al-Jazeera shows Members of Taliban taking control of the presidential palace in Kabul. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan on Wednesday rejected accusations by a US congressman against Islamabad over the fall of Kabu, saying the former Afghan government collapsed due to its internal problems.

In a letter addressed to the Republican Congressman Michael G. Waltz, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington Asad Majeed Khan said his country's leadership consistently said it has no favourites in Afghanistan and would work with any government that has the support of Afghan people.

"The swift collapse of the Afghan government has, if anything, proven the futility of investing more effort and money into finding a military solution to a political problem," Majeed wrote in his letter also posted on Twitter.

Read more: Edgy calm prevails in Afghanistan after US pullout

On August 13, Waltz sent a letter to US President Joe Biden, stating: “The United States should leverage our resources to influence Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s military strategy is dictating the Taliban. At the least, Pakistan is complicit with Taliban advance and is choosing not to coordinate with the ANSF. At worst, the Pakistani military and intelligence services may be directly aiding the Taliban offensive. Accordingly, the United States must immediately cut off all aid to Pakistan. Additionally, I ask that your administration also consider sanctioning Pakistan unless they change course and make greater efforts to prevent the Taliban from using their border region to regroup between firefights.”

“The contention that Pakistan’s ‘military strategy’ was somehow the decisive factor in the defeat of the 300,000-strong Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) – trained and equipped at the cost of at least $83 billion to the American taxpayer – does not square with the US government’s own assessments about the issues of low morale, desertions, and ‘ghost soldiers’ that had long plagued the ANDSF,” Majeed noted.

"It is, therefore, unfortunate that your letter mischaracterises Pakistan's role in Afghanistan," he said, adding that his country continued to support the formation of a broad-based government in Kabul that represents Afghanistan's ethnic diversity.

Also read: Former Afghan spies arrested after Kabul airport attack: Taliban

“It may interest you to learn that on the very day that President Ghani abandoned his people and fled abroad, Pakistan was hosting a diverse group of Afghan politicians as part of its continuing efforts to promote a common understanding on Afghanistan's political future," the ambassador added.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan after taking the control of the capital Kabul on Aug. 15, forcing the president and other top officials to leave the country.

On Tuesday, Biden said the assumption that the Afghan government would be able to hold on for a period of time beyond military drawdown turned out not to be accurate.

Read: Veteran Afghan strongmen to form new front for negotiating with Taliban

"We were ready when they and the people of Afghanistan watched their own government collapse and their president flee amid the corruption and malfeasance, handing over the country to their enemy, the Taliban, and significantly increasing the risk to US personnel and our Allies," he said.

On Monday, the UN Security Council (UNSC) urged the "rapid and secure" reopening of the airport serving Kabul after the US forces complete their withdrawal.

The UNSC resolution called on the relevant parties to work with international partners to take steps to strengthen security and prevent further casualties.

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