- Says India’s investment in Afghanistan, aimed at harming Pakistan, appears to be sinking
- Maintains Afghan people now have to decide how to take their country forward
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Babar Iftikhar said on Saturday that Pakistan was a facilitator of the Afghan peace process and not a guarantor.
"What I can say right now is that the peace process is at a critical stage and everybody understands that," he said during an interview with ARY News, adding that Pakistan has tried to move the process forward with sincerity.
"Of course other stakeholders have been a part of this, but Pakistan has played a key role."
He said that the Afghan people now have to decide how to take their country forward. "We have always maintained that it should be an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and that is what we have continued to strive for.
“Decisions such as these cannot be forced with the use of guns. If that was the case, then it would have happened in these 20 years that have passed.”
Talking about India's involvement in Afghanistan, he said, "If they had made these investments with sincerity, they would have no need to be frustrated. But because they were concentrating on using Afghanistan to harm Pakistan, they can see their entire investment sinking."
In his remarks, the ISPR chief stated that India's goal in Afghanistan has always been focused on harming Pakistan's interests.
When asked if the United States should leave the region completely, the DG ISPR said that "there was only one requirement from the US which was a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan".
"What that meant was their exit would have happened after a transition. But it happened a little quickly. I think that it has been said with a lot of clarity that there is no question nor requirement of bases for the US."
Talking about the fencing of the Afghan border, he said that 90% of it had been completed. "Security at the country’s border with Afghanistan is much better today," he said.
However, the ISPR chief mentioned that “Daesh and TTP groups are based in Afghanistan and attacking Pakistan’s Armed Forces whereas we bore casualties during border fencing.”
To a question if Pakistan is supporting any group in Afghanistan, he said, “Pakistan has no favorites among Afghan stakeholders."
Answering a question on the Afghan Taliban's claim of controlling 85 percent of territory in Afghanistan, the ISPR chief said that such claims were an "exaggeration and the number was likely closer to 45-50pc."
Talking about the Afghan National Army's (ANA) capacity, the ISPR chief said that the "ANA has been equipped and has been trained [...] they have an air force and special forces. As a professional soldier, I would like to say that they should have the capacity to withstand this onslaught and should be able to fight."
Yesterday, Pakistan's National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf expressed concern over the worsening situation in Afghanistan, stating that it was "extremely bad and out of Pakistan's control".
In his briefing to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, he warned of the impending risk of an attack by the Tehreek-i-Taliban, who, he said, could potentially enter Pakistan disguised as refugees.
However, he denied the presence of the Taliban in Pakistan as of now, terming reports as "Indian propaganda", and adding that "India is financially facilitating the propaganda and agencies have even made arrests in this regard".