Military option will not deliver Afghan peace

New York, 23 December, 2107

Pakistan told the UN that the the continuing resort to military force cannot deliver peace in Afghanistan.

Speaking in the Security Council debate on Afghanistan, Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that sixteen years of war, waged by the world’s most powerful forces against an insurgency of irregulars, has not yielded a military solution.

Ambassador Lodhi told the 15-member Council that neither Kabul and the Coalition, nor the Afghan Taliban, can impose a military solution on each other.

The central question in Afghanistan today , she said, is "do we choose the path of war or peace?"

The Pakistani envoy pointed out that the international community is unanimous in its view, and so is the Secretary General, that sustainable peace is only achievable through a negotiated end to the war.

Pakistan , she asserted, has long proposed this as the most viable course to end decades of conflict and suffering in Afghanistan.

She stressed that the search for peace through negotiations must be the priority objective for the Afghan Government, for the Taliban, for Afghanistan’s neighbors and for the United Nations.

In her statement to the Council the Pakistani envoy warned of a new and vicious threat which has emerged in Afghanistan with the presence of a conglomerate of terrorists from various parts of the world: the TTP, ETIM; IMU and other Groups. These have now all adopted the umbrella of Daesh.

“It appears that Daesh’s ‘core’, under pressure in Iraq and Syria, may be relocating to these ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan”, she added.

Expressing deep concern at Daesh’s presence in the Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia, Ambassador Lodhi said that this poses a threat not only to Afghanistan but also to all its neighbors.

“It is the responsibility of the Afghan Government and the international coalition to root out Daesh and associated terrorists from Afghan territory and prevent them from launching attacks against Afghanistan’s neighbors”, she said.

She also told the Council about the “Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Solidarity”, proposed by Pakistan last month to strengthen relations with Afghanistan in all spheres – political, economic, defence, education and culture.

Highlighting the need to secure the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and prevent cross border terrorism, Ambassador Lodhi said that this can be achieved only through constant vigilance, effective management and real-time communication. “Terrorists should not be allowed to provoke clashes between our border security forces”, she remarked.

Voicing concern over the alarming rise in drug cultivation the Pakistani envoy called upon the Afghan Government and the international coalition to energetically eradicate drug production and its links with terrorism as this growing nexus has added to the security threat to the Afghans and their neighbors.

The peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan, she said, were bound by the unbreakable ties of history, faith, blood and language, as well as mutual interdependence. “When the people of Afghanistan needed refuge, the Pakistani people opened their homes and their hearts to them. Close to three million Afghans still reside in Pakistan”, she added.