Afghanistan calls for sanctions against Pakistan
WASHINGTON: Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta has urged the United States to sanction Pakistan and refuse visas to Pakistani generals, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
In an interview to the Post, the Afghan official claimed that the central issue in the war against terrorists was their ability to take refuge in Pakistan and not the rampant corruption in Afghanistan.
Demanding sanctions against Pakistan, Mr Spanta said “Pakistani generals and others that we know definitely are involved in supporting terrorist activities” should be denied US visas.
“It is my firm belief that we cannot win if we continue business as usual,” he said. “We’ve lost the reality. We’ve lost the focus.”
Mr Spanta said the “central issue is international jihadis” who take refuge in Pakistan and enjoy support and training from Pakistani military and intelligence agencies.
“We will fight corruption,” he said. “But to put this problem and challenge at the top of all the others in Afghanistan, that’s a joke. A bad joke. It’s avoiding responsibility.”
Mr Spanta said the United States needed to redirect its drone war to target Afghan Taliban commanders living in Pakistan.
Another senior Afghan official told the Post that President Hamid Karzai also had grown increasingly frustrated with US policy towards Pakistan. “He accuses Pakistan of interfering in Afghanistan, but then the West calls Pakistan an important strategic partner. He thinks Pakistan is training forces to send to Afghanistan to kill our soldiers,” the official said.
“It really irritates him.”
On Tuesday, the US State Department rejected Mr Spanta’s earlier suggestion that America’s support for Pakistan was a strategic mistake and that Washington should reconsider its relationship with Islamabad.
“Pakistan is a strategic country of direct importance and impact to the United States,” spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “One can’t look at this through the lens of a zero-sum calculation.”
It was in the US interest to work with both Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said. “These are not mutually exclusive, and likewise, it’ll be important for Afghanistan and Pakistan to have an effective relationship going forward.”
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