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Pakistan tells UN it won't be 'scapegoat' in Afghan war

Abbasi makes clear his displeasure with the renewed onus on Pakistan in UN General Assembly address

Image Credit: AFP
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addresses the U.N. General Assembly at the United Nations on September 21, 2017 in New York.

United Nations: Pakistan refuses to be a “scapegoat” for Afghanistan’s bloodshed or to fight wars for others, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the United Nations on Thursday.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Abbasi did not explicitly criticize US President Donald Trump’s new strategy on Afghanistan but made clear his displeasure with the renewed onus on Pakistan.

“Having suffered and sacrificed so much due to our role in the global counter terrorism campaign, it is especially galling for Pakistan to be blamed for the military or political stalemate in Afghanistan,” Abbasi said.

“We are not prepared to be anyone’s scapegoat,” he said.

“What Pakistan is not prepared to do is to fight the Afghan war on Pakistan’s soil. Nor can we endorse any failed strategy that will prolong and intensify the suffering of the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and other regional countries,” he said.

Abbasi said that 27,000 Pakistanis have been killed by extremists since the launch of the US war on terror after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Abbasi called for a priority on eliminating extremists, including from Daesh and Al Qaida, in Afghanistan but ultimately a political solution with the Taliban.

US and Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan of playing a double-game, with the powerful intelligence services — not the civilian government — maintaining ties with extremists.

US forces tracked down and killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011 in Abbottabad, a popular resort for Pakistan’s military elite.

Trump, unveiling a new strategy last month, pledged to take a tougher line on Pakistan — making public what had long been more private US frustrations.

Trump has sent thousands more US troops into Afghanistan in a bid to defeat the Taliban, reversing his previous calls to end America’s longest-ever war.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in his own speech to the United Nations appealed to Pakistan for dialogue, saying that the neighbours can work together to eliminate extremism.