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In response to a New York Times editorial on Afghanistan published on May, 12, 2016, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, has sent the following response to the paper:

“Today’s Editorial about Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan is biased and negates the complex history of this prolonged conflict. Pakistan cannot be held responsible for the mess in Afghanistan which is the result of the collective failure of the international community.

Allegations of duplicity and double game are extremely painful especially when Pakistan has suffered the most due to the war in Afghanistan. Hundreds of suicide bombings and tens of thousands of civilian casualties are the direct result of the US led war in Afghanistan after 9/11. Instead of complaining the heavy cost imposed on us due to sustained external intervention in our neighbourhood, Pakistan has consistently cooperated with the United States and coalition forces in sharing intelligence and decimating the terror outfits operating from the region. Since 2009, Pakistani forces have been engaged in incremental operations to clear the Pakistani soil from all the terrorist networks concentrated in this area because of the competing interests and mutual rivalries of the big powers. It is Pakistan’s military which “fractured the back of Taliban” through indiscriminate counter-terrorism operations.

Instead of putting the entire blame on Pakistan, it would have been better had the editorial also commented on the protracted Afghan refugee issue and lack of border management among the underlying reasons for regional instability. Omitting such fundamental questions that impede a long term solution to the Afghan problem smack partisanship on part of the New York Times.

Let us make it clear that Pakistan does not benefit from instability in Afghanistan. We wish them peace and prosperity. To this end, we are pursuing mutually beneficial economic integration through the policy of a peaceful neighbourhood. Only yesterday our leaders inaugurated CASA 1000 project that will bring Pakistan and Afghanistan closer. Earlier, Pakistan played a completely neutral role in the Afghan elections and has offered every possible assistance to the Ghani government to find a political solution in his country. The ongoing QCG process involving the US and China besides Pakistan and Afghanistan has rightly agreed that the long term peace in Afghanistan can only be achieved through reconciliation between the various Afghan stake holders. It is imperative that this peace initiative be given a chance to succeed what the war has failed to achieve in the last fifteen years.

13 May, 2016

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