'Safe terrorist havens' are inside Afghanistan, Pakistan tells UN

| Updated: Jun 22, 2017 23:30 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], June 22 (ANI): Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi has said that terrorist "safe havens" are inside, not outside, Afghanistan. "The resilience of the insurgency led by the Taliban cannot be explained away by convenient references to external 'safe havens' or 'support centres'," the Dawn quoted her, as saying on Wednesday during a debate on Afghanistan in the Security Council. Pakistan and Afghanistan have long accused each other of harbouring militants operating along their porous border. Lodhi stressed at the Council that Islamabad was committed not to allow its soil to be used for terrorism against other countries. Responding to critical remarks made by her Afghan counterpart Mahmoud Saikal during the debate, she said, "As a country that continues to host over two million Afghan refugees, Pakistan expects gratitude and not hostility from the Afghan government." She asserted that it had been Pakistan's consistent position that peace could be restored only through a negotiated settlement between Kabul and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Afghanistan, adding that continued reliance on a military option, or enhancing troop numbers without an accompanying political strategy, would only lead to more violence and bloodshed. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar attack Pakistan from their bases in Afghanistan, Lodhi alleged. "We are confident that, whatever our differences in the past, in the end, the deep bonds of religion, culture, history and geography between Pakistan and Afghanistan will assert themselves and produce an era of peaceful and mutually beneficial cooperation between our nations," she said. (ANI)