Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the Security Council Debate on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
(25 September 2017)

Mr. President,

We thank the Secretary General for his report, and his Special Representative Tadamichi Yamamoto for his briefing this morning.

Pakistan shares the universal concern regarding the grave situation in Afghanistan. The Secretary General’s report highlights the fact that Afghans are increasingly frustrated at the deteriorating political, economic and security situation of their country. Their government’s inability to control the narcotics trade and arms smuggling is exacerbating the situation.

It is with deep regret that I am obliged to reject the insinuations made by the Afghan Foreign Minister directed at my country. The fundamental sources of insecurity in Afghanistan lie inside and not outside. The Afghan government would be better advised to focus more seriously on its persisting challenges and embark on a course correction.

The Secretary General’s report refers to Daesh’s expanding reach in Afghanistan, including in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. It also talks of its increased influence in the northern and western provinces. These are worrying signs for Afghan security and for regional stability.

As the Afghan government itself has acknowledged, more than 20 terrorist organizations are operating from its soil, including the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan and Jamaat Ul Ahrar. These organizations are conducting terrorist attacks inside Pakistan and pose a threat to Afghanistan's other neighbors.


Mr. President,

Wars and turmoil in Afghanistan over the past four decades have afflicted our region with extremism and terrorism. Apart from the people of Afghanistan, it is Pakistan that has borne the brunt of these. Terrorism, the arms and drug trade and the influx of millions of Afghan refugees have undermined our security and retarded our economic growth and development.

Pakistan has a vital stake in building peace and security in Afghanistan. We have supported all regional and international efforts to promote a peaceful settlement to the internal conflict in Afghanistan. We will continue to do so.

Mr. President,

For its part, Pakistan has fought a successful war against terrorism. Our military operations, involving over 200,000 troops, have crushed and eliminated terrorist groups in our frontier regions and our towns and cities. We have paid a heavy price: 27,000 civilians and soldiers have been martyred; 50,000 injured. Our economic losses are estimated at $120 billion.

Unfortunately, Pakistan continues to face terrorist attacks from across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border conducted by the TTP, JUA and IS-related groups operating from sanctuaries and safe havens in Afghanistan. We urge the Afghan Government and Coalition forces to take decisive action to eliminate these terrorist safe havens in Afghanistan.

Pakistan is undertaking steps to strengthen border controls and end these sponsored terrorist attacks against Pakistan. We expect the Afghan government and Coalition forces to extend full cooperation in ensuring an end to cross border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

Mr. President,

The Secretary-General has affirmed the strong international consensus that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. A peace process between the Afghan Government and the Afghan insurgency must be promoted and fully supported.

An intra-Afghan dialogue can succeed only if the Afghan Government itself endorses the global consensus that peace can be achieved only through negotiations and not by the force of arms. UNAMA can play a role in forging this consensus in Kabul.

Pakistan also calls upon the Taliban to shed violence and agree to resume talks in one or more negotiating formats. An agreed de-escalation of the conflict and a negotiated settlement offers the best chance to end the suffering of the Afghan people and restore peace and tranquility within Afghanistan and the region.

But, as my Prime Minister stated in the General Assembly last week, what Pakistan is not prepared to do is fight the Afghan war on Pakistan’s soil. We cannot endorse any strategy that has repeatedly failed in the past and would only prolong and intensify the suffering of the people of Afghanistan as well further destabilize the entire region.

Mr. President,

We believe that the strategy to restore peace in Afghanistan should focus on the following 3 elements:

Mr. President,

Pakistan remains committed to extending all possible assistance to our Afghan brothers and sisters, including by facilitating the transit of Afghanistan’s imports and exports through our ports, helping in construction of infrastructure projects through the utilization of the 500 million dollar commitment we made in Brussels and extending our assistance to the Afghan forces in securing their country.

The meeting last week between the Foreign Ministers of our two countries opens a window of opportunity to work together to address both security and economic issues to our mutual benefit.

The bonds of religion, culture, history and geography that bind the peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan are strong and immutable. They will survive the episodes of external intervention. Pakistan has struggled together with the Afghan people to uphold their freedom from foreign occupation and intervention. We strongly support Afghanistan's sovereignty. We strongly oppose its use in the geo political games of power.

While others can afford to orchestrate a proxy war to destabilize Afghanistan and its neighbors, for Pakistan a stable Afghanistan is vital for our own peace, stability and progress.

I thank you.