ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Army’s chief spokesperson Major General Babar Iftikhar Saturday said the Afghan Peace Process has many aspects where it should be understood that Pakistan was only a facilitator and not a guarantor in the process.
In an exclusive interview with ARY NEWS Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the main stay of resolution to the matter was on different factions of Afghans who would have to decide the future course of the issue. The state-run news agency also released details of the interview to the media late Saturday. Major General Babar said the peace process was at a critical stage as far as Pakistan was concerned it took efforts to take peace process sincerely with core vision of Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process. “In past 20 years, US Army trained Afghan National Army that has strength, capability and its own Air force with presence on ground,” adding, the Afghan National Army was trained, equipped and had special and air forces. Major General Babar Iftikhar said, “Trillions of dollars have been spent on them and as a professional soldier I believe that they should be able to fight this onslaught as a professional force.”
Major General Babar added that they have the capacity and despite that they did not withstand then its reasons to be guided through internal dynamics and on ground complexities. The ISPR DG added that we needed to understand that it would be Afghans own decision and would not be dictated by any foreign party.
Responding another query, he said the US have withdrawn and their allied forces have left and would completely leave by 31 August whereas the stakeholders in the region would have to decide the issue in consultation with Afghan leadership.
Daesh, TTP groups based in Afghanistan attacking Pakistan’s Armed Forces
Pakistan has no favourites among Afghan stakeholders
He said that the counter strategy was long discussed and the world had observed that Pakistan very sincerely took the peace process. “Pakistan has no favourites among Afghan stakeholders. The decisions to be taken by Afghans and they have to decide their leadership in case of any deadlock we can assist. Pakistan has made all out efforts and could not exceed beyond limits. Afghans have the capacity and capability to decide their future course themselves,” he said.
The ISPR DG was of the view that the gun (force) was not the solution to resolve Afghan crisis as through gun it could not be decided since the past two decades and it was not an option in the future.
Referring to the armed conflict taking place in Afghanistan among Taliban and Afghan Forces, he said this was just a phase and decision could be made only through dialogue.
He informed that Pak-Afghan Border security and management has been beefed up and the 2611km stretch of the border was 90% fenced whereas the leftover placed were either high altitude or glaciated places. However, forts were built with proper mechanisms and Frontier Corps (FC) new wings developed to manage the posts, he added.
The spillover effect after civil war may come to Pakistan that had come earlier and we were very well aware of that and took many measures to cope with the situation, the ISPR DG said. “Daesh and TTP groups are based in Afghanistan and attacking Pakistan’s Armed Forces whereas we bore casualties during border fencing,” he informed.
Major General Babar said the mechanism for Afghan border fencing was better and the Armed Forces were very well prepared, adding, “God Willing, we should be able to take care of this situation.”
Replying to another query on impending Afghan Refugees influx in case of any civil war, he said the Interior Ministry has made contingency planning to manage refugee inflow in case of violence whereas the international community and regional stakeholders would have to decide the Afghan issue. He said Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against anyone nor would allow “unwanted” people to enter the country. He noted that Pakistan’s approach was very clear as it remain committed to never let its soil to be used against anybody. Unfortunately, there has been no serious effort made by the international and Afghan forces to make air tight control to contain terrorist activities against Pakistan, he noted. He maintained that the responsible withdrawal meant a meaningful exodus of the US Forces after a complete transition which was the demand of all stakeholders.
During the interview, Major General Babar Iftikhar said that India’s investments in Afghanistan seemed to be sinking. Indian propaganda against Pakistan and its role in the peace process was “not gaining traction”.
Indian investment in Afghanistan aimed at establishing its influence to damage Pakistan’s interests, however, after the prevailing scenario, there was huge frustration on Indian side. It’s all focus was towards damaging Pakistan and it had moved its spoilers in different directions to blame Pakistan for the unrest in Afghanistan whereas the world has realised that Pakistan did earnest efforts to resolve Afghan issue as per local masses’ aspirations, he added.
The ISPR DG said that Indian propaganda would not get any traction whatever propaganda level they were going to apply.