'Pakistan to blame for violence in Afghanistan'
Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani has accused Pakistan of supporting terrorist organisations and praised India for being helpful in the development of his country.
Pakistan's reluctance to end its support for terrorism underpins the continuation of violence in Afghanistan and the region, Rabbani said while speaking on Afghanistan's foreign policy priorities and implications for the new US administration at a meeting organised by the Atlantic Council think-tank in Washington on Tuesday.
The Atlantic Council is a forum for countries to discuss key issues such as peace, security, democracy and prosperity around the world.
"Pakistan violates our air-space and frequently shells eastern Afghanistan. These routine violations undermine any prospect of normal bilateral relations, and pose a serious threat to peace and security in our region and beyond," Rabbani said.
He said Afghanistan tried to open a new chapter of relationship with Islamabad but, "unfortunately, we did not see practical steps taken by Pakistan".
Rabbani said defeating terrorism in Afghanistan and the region is, fundamentally, dependent on eliminating terrorist safe-havens in countries that harbour terrorists.
"They must end their sponsorship of terrorism through continual flow of financial, moral and material aid."
The minister said Afghanistan has always chosen cooperation over confrontation and Islamabad should see its neighbour as a sovereign and independent country.
"It is not subservient to anyone," he said.
Rabbani also called India "an important partner providing support where their means have allowed". He lauded India for the all-round development of Afghanistan.
Referring to the series of recent attacks in Kabul and Kandahar, the Foreign Minister said these incidents proved that the Taliban did not want to come to the peace table.
He said a paradigm shift in Pakistan was needed if any progress has to be made in peace efforts with the Taliban.
"Now, we have stopped asking Pakistan to deliver Taliban to the peace table. We want Pakistan to take action against the Taliban leadership. They should not support violence in Afghanistan," he said.
Rabbani also urged US President Donald Trump's administration to put pressure on Pakistan to stop using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
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