Pakistan fumes over US bill seeking probe into Pakistan’s role in Afghan conflict

Pakistan reacted sharply over the reference made to its role in a recently introduced bill in the US Senate--that calls for a report into the role played by Pakistan before and after the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government - terming it “unwarranted” and “inconsistent” with the spirit of cooperation between the two nations

Sep 30, 2021
Image
Pakistan-US

Pakistan reacted sharply over the reference made to its role in a recently introduced bill in the US Senate--that calls for a report into the role played by Pakistan before and after the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government - terming it “unwarranted” and “inconsistent” with the spirit of cooperation between the two nations.  

Twenty-two Republican senators in the United States have recently introduced a bill, Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act, in the US Senate. The bill seeks "an assessment of support by state and non-state actors, including the government of Pakistan, for the Taliban between 2001 and 2020". 

The report, the bill says, shall include “the provision of sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics, and medical support, training, equipping, and tactical, operation or strategic direction.”

Calling the reference “completely unwarranted” and “inconsistent” with the spirit of cooperation, Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftkar Ahmed said, “Such proposed legislative measures are, therefore, uncalled for and counterproductive."

Reminding the US of its role in facilitating talks between the Taliban and the US, Islamabad said the “coercive approach” would not work and reiterated that only “engagement and dialogue” could bring "sustainable peace" to war-torn Afghanistan. 

Frustration among lawmakers in the United States has been growing over the two-decade-long conflict in Afghanistan--described as a “strategic failure” by US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A Melley--that ended last month.  

Earlier during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had also said that Islamabad had a “multiplicity of interests, [with] some that are in conflict with ours,” adding that the US would look into the role played Pakistan in the last twenty years and re-evaluate what role it would like Pakistan to play in Afghanistan. 

On Wednesday, Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid denied that Pakistan had provided any military assistance to the Taliban, and called for the "engagement with the Taliban" to help the country in the difficult situation. 

Sherry Rahman, who is the Leader of Opposition Pakistan People’s Party in the Upper House, reacted to the development, saying, “What is happening to Pakistan is actually worse than what has happened before.”

Sherry, who is also the chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, blamed the US for “hasty withdrawal” and said that Washington has now been pressing Islamabad to take responsibility. 

(SAM)