Pakistan monitoring changing situation in Afghanistan: Information minister
Islamabad: Pakistan said on Monday that it was monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and assured its people that it would not allow the looming chaos in the war-torn nation to spillover borders to cause any kind of disturbance in the country.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s remarks came in the midst of Taliban militants seizing dozens of districts in recent weeks and now claiming that they control 85 per cent of territory in Afghanistan, ahead of the complete withdrawal of US and Western troops from the country.
Under a deal with the Taliban, the US and its NATO allies agreed to withdraw all troops in return for a commitment by the militants that they would prevent extremist groups from operating in areas they control. US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that American troops will be out of the country by August 31.
“(We are) monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan and trying our best for a way forward in Afghanistan through a peaceful regime based on the suggestions from all (stakeholders). Even if this (effort) fails, we will not let the unrest spillover to Pakistan, Chaudhry said in a tweet in Urdu.
He assured the people who are worried over the news of continuous fighting in Afghanistan that Pakistan was prepared to deal with any fallout.
“Our Afghan policy will be in the interests of Pakistan, he said.
Chaudhry recalled in another tweet that Prime Minister Imran Khan had already clarified that Pakistan could be partners with the US in peace, but not in conflict.
“Pakistan’s land is not being used against Afghanistan and [we] hope that Afghanistan’s territory, too, will not be used against Pakistan,” he said.
Chaudhry in the same tweet mentioned that the political and parliamentary leadership in Pakistan had agreed on the “principle of non-interference in Afghanistan.
The tweets by the information minister are reflective of the unease being felt in Pakistan due to the fear of a civil war in Afghanistan and the efforts by the government to tackle it.
On Saturday, Army spokesman Major Gen Babar Iftikhar said Pakistan is well prepared to deal with the spillover effect it may face in case of a civil war in neighbouring Afghanistan, insisting that Islamabad is only a facilitator of the Afghan peace process, not a guarantor.
He said the security on the border was tight. More than 90 per cent of the 2,611 kilometre-long border has been fenced.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf briefing a parliamentary panel last week talked about the volatile situation in Afghanistan.
Pakistan fears that the civil war would send waves of refugees across the border and that the instability in Afghanistan would provide a breeding ground for anti-Pakistan militancy.