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Pakistan warns against attacks from Afghan side

29 June, 2012

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that it had acted with restraint to a recent cross-border attack by Taliban that killed 17 Pakistani soldiers, but warned against recurrence of such provocations from the Afghan side.

"Preventing recurrence of such incidents is absolutely imperative - and safe havens in Afghanistan of such people must be dissuaded," Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN, said of the attack that took place on June 24 in Upper Dir.

"It is a grave incident, which unfortunately is not unprecedented," he told the 15-nation council, which debated the situation in Afghanistan. Ambassador Haroon, describing great costs to Pakistan in dealing with security challenges and refugees emanating from the Afghan situation, expressed deep concern over provocations from Afghan areas with sizable Afghan forces and international presence.

Despite such provocations, "we neither play the blame game, nor conduct diplomacy through media", he said. The Pakistani envoy said apart from capacity-building of the Afghan National Security Forces, Pakistan had sought closer engagement with Afghanistan and its international partners on all security-related issues.

Pakistan, he added, had done so by maintaining a robust presence of its forces along the international border. Its deployment of troops and paramilitary in the border region had far exceeded the number of international troops in entire Afghanistan. This, Ambassador Haroon said, had come at considerable economic, political and human cost for Pakistan. At the end, he reiterated Pakistan's commitment to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Kabul vowed to take concrete steps for stopping cross-border attacks on Pakistani checkposts along Afghanistan's Kunar province. This was stated by Afghan Ambassador Umer Daudzai, who called on Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at the Foreign Office.

Expressing concern over the cross-border raids and rocket attacks, the Afghan ambassador said all Afghans were concerned over the attacks that killed 18 Pakistani soldiers in Dir, a spokesman for Afghan embassy said.

Daudzai said terrorism was a problem for both countries and Islamabad as well as Kabul must jointly take steps to eradicate the menace. Khar also stressed that such incidents must be stopped in future.

After appreciating the statement of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, official sources said, Daudzai urged Khar to expedite efforts for peace in Afghanistan as no progress could be made in this connection.

"We will do whatever we can do for starting peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban in Afghanistan," Khar replied.

On Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the ambassador told the foreign minister that the refugees were being harassed by security officials in Pakistan without any reason, and urged to take steps to stop it. "We will take steps to facilitate the return of refugees as soon as possible." The FM also conveyed Pakistan's decision to allocate $20 million to support the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).


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