Special emissary: Fear of Afghan action prompted Achakzai’s trip

PkMAP leader says he played the role of troubleshooter.

Tahir Khan July 20, 2014


Leader of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party Mehmood Khan Achakzai revealed on Saturday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had flown him to Kabul as his special emissary last month in the wake of credible information that the Afghan government was “likely to take some action against Pakistan”.

On June 19, the foreign ministry confirmed Achakzai’s Kabul sojourn amid speculation that the PkMAP leader was seeking Mullah Fazlullah’s extradition and eliciting its cooperation in Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

However, in an interview with BBC Pashto, Achakzai said, “The government received intelligence from very credible sources that Kabul is planning something against Pakistan.” He added, “The Pakistani leadership insisted that they do not want any misunderstanding or a dangerous situation between the two friendly countries.”

Achakzai said the government asked him to discuss the issue with President Hamid Karzai and the foreign secretary accompanied him on the trip. Achakzai had two meetings with the Afghan president, and the Pakistani foreign secretary and close aides to President Karzai were present at one meeting.

Achakzai did not discuss Karzai’s reaction to Pakistan’s concerns. Pakistan had shared the information of a possible ‘plan’ with ambassadors of the US, China and other countries, he added.

Achakzai said Kabul is mulling a response to the alleged cross-border attack by Pakistani forces that left three Afghan National Army soldiers dead in Kunar in June. President Karzai reportedly instructed his security forces to prepare for a response to the attacks, according to a statement issued in Kabul last month.

Afghan foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmad Shakib Mustaghni had also claimed that Pakistani forces entered Dangam district in Kunar province in civilian clothes and attacked Afghan soldiers, a charge denied by Pakistan.

“If Pakistan and Afghanistan want to end terrorism, they will have to make a commitment that they will not shelter armed opponents in their respective countries,” said Achakzai, referring to Karzai’s claims that Islamabad supports Afghan Taliban. Discussing Operation Zarb-e-Azb, he said the operation was launched ‘in a hurry’ and no one had prior information. “The ill-planned operation uprooted hundreds of thousands of people when there was no settlement mechanism for the IDPs,” he said.

Achakzai questioned why many Uzbek, Arab, Chechen and militants from other countries entered Waziristan. “Who supplied dangerous weapons, food and other facilities to these foreign militants who have launched attacks on the GHQ and other sensitive installations?” he asked.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.