Pakistan has once again urged the Afghan government that the upcoming visit of President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman of High Peace Council Dr Abdullah Abdullah to White House visit “must not be used to blame Islamabad.”
President Ghani and Abdullah will meet US President Joe Biden on June 25 to discuss the future of war-ravaged country.
Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul met Afghan leaders from across party lines in this regard and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi interacted with Dr Abdullah as well as his Afghan counterpart Hanif Atmar on the sidelines of the recent Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey.
The Pakistani media quoted officials as saying that Islamabad fears that “spoilers” within the Afghan setup may use the upcoming visit of President Ghani and Dr Abdullah to blame Islamabad for the failure.
FM Qureshi at the recent Afghan Track-II dialogue minced no words when he stated that President Ghani might use the upcoming visit to the White House to blame Pakistan.
“If the objective [President Ghani’s visit] is to start a new blame game and hold Pakistan responsible for all the ills, I think it will not help. It’s a shared responsibility and no one is going to buy this anymore. We will not take any responsibility. We have been accused enough,” he added.
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafiz Chaudhri in a separate statement said: “The visit by Afghan leaders to Washington DC is a bilateral issue. However, I wish to reiterate our hope that the US will continue its engagement and efforts for the success of Afghan peace process. Peace in Afghanistan remains a shared objective.”
The White House said President Ghani and Dr Abdullah’s visit would highlight an “enduring partnership” between the United States and Afghanistan as the military drawdown continues.
But since President Biden announced to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by September this year, the Afghan Taliban have made rapid strides as they took control of 30 districts Since May 1.
The Taliban, meanwhile, reacted to the visit and termed it “useless”.
“They [Ghani and Abdullah] will talk with the US officials for preservation of their power and personal interest,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. “It won’t benefit Afghanistan.”
As the peace process hangs in the balance, there are elements in the Afghan government which have already started pointing a finger at Pakistan. The Afghan National Security Adviser and the Afghan vice president in particular in recent weeks issued scathing statements against Pakistan.
The Afghan NSA’s repeated diatribe accusing Pakistan for using Afghan Taliban as proxy has compelled Islamabad to sever all official links with Hamdullah Mohib.
Pakistan has also warned that such baseless allegations would only undermine peace efforts.
Given the trust deficit between the two countries, officials said, Islamabad would closely follow the visit of Afghan leadership to the White House.