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ISLAMABAD: Kabul must be cautioned against continued blame-game at this critical stage when foreign forces have started withdrawal from Afghanistan, stated security and independent analysts while talking to Business Recorder.

“I am surprised to see the latest statements by President Ghani which is coming soon after Army Chief’s visit to Kabul. These statements are coming out of frustration and I think they [Afghan leadership] are holding Pakistan responsible for their own failure to restore law and order in their country,” said Lt Gen Talat Masood (retd), a senior security analyst.

He said Afghan government should accept its responsibility of protecting its citizens and restoring peace instead of blaming Pakistan for its problems, ‘which is no longer helpful’. “You cannot blame Pakistan for all of your internal problems. In fact, it’s a demonstration of failure to do their job,” Masood said, adding the blame-game was not helpful for any side at this critical stage.

On May 10, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hamid visited Kabul and held meetings with President Ghani and chairman High Council for National Reconciliation Dr Abdullah Abdullah in which matters of mutual interest, current developments in Afghan peace process, enhanced bilateral security and defence cooperation and need for effective border management between the two brotherly countries were discussed.

“It’s very unfortunate that Afghan leadership is sending a very negative message to Pakistan’s sincere efforts for building bilateral ties, economic cooperation and more importantly its constructive role in the peace process,” said Brig Mahmood Shah (retd), a senior defence analyst.

He said President Ghani needed ‘to put his own house in order’ instead of blaming Pakistan for Afghanistan’s internal problems. He also stated that the two sides had now relevant forums where they could discuss such issues instead of the blame-game through the media.

The Afghan leadership, particularly President Ashraf Ghani, has again resorted to blame-game against Pakistan days after Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed’s visit to Kabul where they reassured Pakistan’s all out support to ‘Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process based on mutual consensus of all stakeholders.’

President Ghani’s latest “irresponsible” and “baseless” allegations led to summoning of Afghan Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil to Foreign Office on Monday who, according to Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, was conveyed Pakistan’s serious concerns by a strong demarche.

“Pakistan emphasized that groundless accusations erode trust and vitiate the environment between the two brotherly countries and disregard constructive role being played by Pakistan in facilitating the Afghan peace process,” he added.

He said the Afghan side had been urged to effectively utilise the available forums like Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) to address all bilateral issues.

In a recent interview with a German magazine, Ghani accused Pakistan of “operating” an organised system of support for the Taliban. “The Taliban receive logistics there [Pakistan], their finances are there and recruitment is there [Pakistan]. The names of the various decision-making bodies of the Taliban are Quetta Shura, Miramshah Shura and Peshawar Shura…There is a deep relationship with the state,” the Afghan President claimed.

Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib also hurled accusations at ISI for allegedly using the Taliban for its “own” war. “The ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency, is not doing mercy on you [Taliban]. They neither want you nor they will help you to take power. All they have told you is a lie. The only thing they want from you is that they are sacrificing you for themselves and for their own war,” Mohib was quoted by the Afghan media last week as having said in an event in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

Some of the contents of Mohib’s address to the event were shared by the official twitter account of his office. “The Pashtun tribes were not happy with Pakistan…the Pashtuns had revolted, the Baloch are also fighting for their rights and those who left their wealth and livelihood in India [at the time of partition in 1947] came to settle in Pakistan are now called immigrants,” Mohib claimed.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmmood Qureshi in his statement to National Assembly on Monday also responded to the Afghan leadership’s allegations, asking President Ghani to define his government’s policy towards Pakistan.

“I would like to ask Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, as on one hand, you are requesting Pakistan’s help while on the other, your operatives are resorting to blaming Pakistan and its institutions. For God sake, make a decision what do you want? We want peace, friendship, bilateral trade, economic cooperation and regional connectivity, as we are shifting our focus from ‘geo-politics’ to ‘geo-economics’. What do you want? Make up you mind?” Qureshi said in response to serious allegations leveled by President Ghani and the Afghan NSA.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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