Pakistan and the United States faced each other at the UN Security Council summit on Afghanistan, with tensions boiling over after recent accusations of Pakistani agents harboring Taliban fighters. The U.S. accuses Pakistan of not doing enough to eliminate terrorist organizations that threaten Afghan security, while Pakistan claims their military is already stretched thin by its own war against ISIS and other extremist groups in neighboring regions.”
“We demand that the United States take concrete steps to end drone strikes in Pakistani territory, stop interference in our internal affairs, and demonstrate sincerity in efforts to combat terrorism,” said Qureshi. “They must recall that the world is no longer divided into compartments of good and evil.”
Pakistan’s prime minister said that American accusations are ‘counterproductive’ to peace in the region.
Ameer was adamant in his demands for the U.S., stating that ‘our soldiers are fighting terrorists at a heavy cost of blood and treasure, while all our efforts are being blamed on others.’ The prime minister also claimed Pakistan would not bow to threats, saying “We won’t take it lying down.”
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Jackie Wolcott, said that if the Pakistani government is ‘ready and willing’ they will support its anti-terror efforts with support from American forces. “We want them to do more,” she said, while also clarifying that Pakistan has not been given an ultimatum.
Many U.N. members expressed concern over the lack of a unified effort to combat the resurgence of the Taliban and other extremist groups, doubting if current U.S.-led initiatives can handle the problem on their own. As a result, several countries have pledged support for any UN military action in response to recent terrorist attacks carried out by the Taliban and other terror groups, including the assassination of several prominent Afghan officials.
“We must stay united to ensure the Taliban do not take over Afghanistan again,” said French Ambassador Denis Pietton. “A divided front is almost as bad as none at all.”
Pakistan opposed the decision of several countries to form a coalition against terrorism in Afghanistan, claiming it was ‘unwarranted’ and interfered with its sovereignty.
Pakistani diplomats were reportedly angered that the U.S. did not consult Pakistani officials prior to finalizing a counter-terrorism initiative against Afghanistan, despite being a key member of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group.
“We have always been left out of these initiatives,” said Foreign Minister Qureshi. “Our involvement in the Peace Process cannot be ignored, so I strongly condemn the U.S.’s failure to consult us.”
Speaking after Pakistan’s representative nearly two hours later, Ambassador Wolcott pushed back at claims America was not consulting its allies prior to forming a coalition against extremism in Afghanistan. “I can assure this Council that no decisions were made without consulting with our allies,” she said. “The U.S. does not act alone.”
When asked about Pakistan’s infrastructure projects along the Durand Line, Ameer stated ‘our Afghanistan policy will only be successful once we are confident in the strength of our borders.’ He pledged continued efforts by Islamabad to stop Daesh from establishing a foothold in Afghanistan or Pakistani territory.
Ameer also said that the U.S. is ‘hindering peace’ in the region by welcoming India’s increased involvement in Afghanistan, citing it as a reason for heightened tensions between Pakistan and the U.S.. Ambassadors from several countries expressed concern over what they considered Pakistan’s ‘belligerent’ stance on terrorism, but also noted the country’s recent efforts to improve relations with Afghanistan.
“We are aware of Islamabad’s repeated requests for dialogue,” Ambassador Wolcott said. “But the time has not yet come.”