WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Afghanistan on the US South Asia strategy.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t had any positive response from Pakistan. Not any change in the policy that they are pursuing,” Atmar said in his address on “Progress on Peace and Stability in Afghanistan” at an event organized by the US Institute of Peace here.
Atmar said there was a regional consensus on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, but the consensus on how to fight the terrorists had broken slightly.
Atmar said there were some actors in the region who continued to draw a distinction between good and bad terrorists and those looking at nonstate actors for counter-terrorism.
“Like that there are those who say that they work with the Taliban against Daesh. We say that not only this is unethical but in terms of policy this is self-defeating.”
The NSA, without going into details, said Afghanistan was an environment where significant progress had been made but also faced challenges primarily associated to the growth of foreign fighters and the weakening of regional cooperation.
Atmar said Afghanistan faced threat from a nexus of violent extremism, transnational criminalized networks and state sponsorship of terrorists.
“It’s not just a threat against Afghanistan. It’s a threat against the region and by extension against the entire global community,” he rued.
Responding to a question on peace talks, Atmar said their primary focus was to encourage the Taliban through soft means. “We agree on that, but there must be some disincentives when it comes to the reconcilable elements. And disincentives will have to be provided by Pakistan,” he said.
“As long as the Taliban leaders have a safe haven in Pakistan and they are able to draw proceeds from drugs, there will always be an element of irreconcilable. That needs to be addressed,” Atmar said.
Asserting that the Taliban must know that they cannot win militarily and therefore, Atmar said currently there hasn’t been any official response from the Taliban yet to the peace offer.
“They are still pondering, consulting each other. But the unfortunate fact is that there has been an increase in violence since the launch of the peace strategy and peace offer,” he said.