Militants fleeing Pakistan have found sanctuaries in Afghanistan: Envoy

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Aizaz Chaudhry has said that there is evidence that militant groups, having fled from Pakistan’s border areas as a result of military operations, have found sanctuaries in Afghanistan’s ungoverned areas from where they planned and coordinated attacks against both the countries.

Speaking at a gathering of local and international press, academia and members of the Washington-based think-tank organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Washington on Wednesday, the envoy said that the tendency of blaming Pakistan for security incidents inside Afghanistan is unhelpful.

Turning towards regional developments, the ambassador said that Pakistan continued to support an inclusive political reconciliation process in Afghanistan as the only viable path towards obtaining lasting peace in the region.

“There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.”

The ambassador identified key steps for restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan, including intra-Afghan reconciliation, robust border management, repatriation of Afghan refugees and close cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Aizaz Chaudhry briefed the audience on Pakistan’s economic turnaround and successes in the fight against terrorism, besides sharing Pakistan’s perspective on key issues and developments in the region. He said that this economic revival took place at the same time that the country successfully turned the corner in its fight against terrorism and extremism.

Referring to the great human and material cost entailed in reversing the tide of terrorism when it was ascendant elsewhere in the region, the ambassador said that, “No nation has done more in the fight against terrorism.”

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The Pakistani envoy said that Pakistan’s growth indicators are positive and pointing in the right direction because of the government’s focus on economic stability and outward looking policies.

The ambassador said that the government’s emphasis on building economic connectivity best symbolized by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project has generated interest among international investors including those from corporate America.

Aizaz Chaudhry reaffirmed that Pakistan is ready to work with the United States as a partner for achieving peace and security in the region.

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