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Pakistan Warns US Against Making it Scapegoat in Afghan War

After a five-hour long meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the US stance on Pakistan is a “serious matter.” The top civil and military leadership cautioned the US against making Pakistan a scapegoat.

PTI

Updated:August 24, 2017, 11:00 PM IST
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Pakistan Warns US Against Making it Scapegoat in Afghan War
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned Pakistan for providing “safe havens to agents of chaos and terror.” (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Islamabad: Rejecting US President Donald Trump’s remarks that Islamabad harbours terrorists safe havens, Pakistan on Thursday warned that making it a scapegoat would not help maintain stability in war-torn Afghanistan.

After a marathon five-hour long meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the US stance on Pakistan is a “serious matter.”

The top civil and military leadership cautioned the US against making Pakistan a scapegoat and said it would not help maintain stability in Afghanistan.

“The Committee outrightly rejected the specific allegations and insinuations made against Pakistan. It was
observed that to make Pakistan a scapegoat will not help in stabilising Afghanistan. In fact, being its immediate neighbour, Pakistan has an abiding interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan,” according to an official statement.

The committee observed that Pakistan had to manage the blowback of a protracted conflict in Afghanistan that resulted in deluge of refugees, flow of drugs and arms and more recently in the shape of terrorist safe havens in eastern Afghanistan from where anti-Pakistan terrorist groups continue to operate and launch attacks inside Pakistan.

“The fact remains that the complex issues and internal dynamics inside Afghanistan pose a grave challenge not only to Pakistan but to the broader region and the international community,” it said.

The meeting was convened by the PM to devise a “combined response” to Trump’s accusation of Pakistan being a “safe haven” for terrorists.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee Zubair Hayat, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief ACM Sohail Aman, and Naval Chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah attended the meeting held at the PM House.

US Ambassador David Hale called on Army Chief Gen Bajwa on Wednesday to brief him on the new South Asia policy of the US.

Responding to the invective, the army chief had said: “We are not looking for any material or financial assistance from the US, but trust, understanding and [an] acknowledgement of our contributions.”

On Tuesday, the day after Trump's speech, Ambassador Hale also met Khawaja Asif and briefed him about America's new policy in Afghanistan and South Asia.
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