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(2017-06-04) Strongly rejecting the baseless and unfounded allegations, the Foreign Affairs Adviser said that following the brutal terrorist attack in Kabul on 31 May 2017, we have witnessed with serious concern baseless accusations against Pakistan by certain elements inside and outside Afghanistan, made within minutes of the attack and obviously before any investigation.

This accusatory approach is instigated by those who have no interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan and their malicious agenda is to damage Afghanistan-Pakistan relations and the cooperation initiatives recently gaining momentum, he asserted.

Pakistan has condemned the Kabul terrorist attack in strongest terms. Being victim of terrorism, we feel the pain and agony of the Afghan people, the Adviser said.

Afghanistan faces serious internal challenges including growing violence caused by insurgency, expanding foothold of Daesh and other terrorist groups exploiting the country’s ungoverned spaces. Increasing drug production and trafficking provides financial support for sustaining terrorism and militancy. Combating these huge challenges requires strengthening of its security network. Leveling allegations against other countries only signifies a tendency to externalize the internal challenges faced by Afghanistan, Mr Sartaj Aziz underlined.

Mr Aziz emphasised that Afghan authorities should undertake a transparent investigation into the incident in order to make a determination about the perpetrators of the attack based on concrete evidence. Pakistan supports any such investigation.

We in Pakistan are convinced that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan. Pakistan has, therefore, continued to reaffirm its strong support to the efforts for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan, Mr Sartaj Aziz said.

Pakistan’s human and financial sacrifices in fighting the menace of terrorism have been widely recognized. The international community has also appreciated the remarkable success of our counter-terrorism efforts which have effectively targeted terrorists without any discrimination. The results of our effective counter-terrorism campaign are visible in a peaceful domestic environment, he underscored.

The Adviser underlined that strong bonds of religion, culture, history and geography bind the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan has always stood with the people of Afghanistan in their difficult times. For the past four decades, millions of our Afghan brothers, facing unstable conditions in Afghanistan, have lived in Pakistan with dignity and honour. Pakistan has also been making important contribution in assisting Afghanistan in vital social and economic areas. Millions of Afghan children have received education in Pakistan. Thousands of them are working in Afghanistan for their country’s progress and development. Pakistan facilitates Afghanistan’s transit of its exports and imports through our ports. As Afghanistan’s friend and neighbour, we have also made serious efforts to facilitate an Afghan-led Afghan-owned peace process.

The hateful campaign being launched by the detractors is unhelpful and detrimental for the close harmony and cooperation required for pursuing joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Pakistan remains committed to extend all possible assistance to Afghanistan and its Government of National Unity in combating these complex and formidable challenges. We believe that cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan is in the mutual interest of our two countries and peoples.

4 June 2017

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