Pakistan Offers to Aid Afghan Military While Claiming No Military Solution to Afghanistan

KABUL, Sept. 12, 2017 -- Afghan army soldiers take part in a military training in Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Sept. 12, 2017. About 1,100 Afghan army soldiers including females have been receiving an nine-month military training here. (Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah via Getty Images)
Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah via Getty Images

Pakistan is open to engaging in joint border patrols with Afghan forces, the Pakistani prime minister (PM) told reporters this week, amid U.S. pressure on Islamabad for harboring terrorists who are fighting and killing American troops and their allies in neighboring Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani foreign minister (FM) tells Turkish leaders that there is no military solution to the ongoing Afghanistan war, which began when U.S. troops invaded the country in October 2001, reports Dawn, citing a statement issued by the Islamabad-based Foreign Office (FO).

Turkey’s FM reportedly agreed with his Pakistani counterpart.

The seemingly contradicting comments from the Pakistani leaders came Tuesday.

Both Turkey and Pakistan “stressed the need for regional powers to work for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” Dawn learned from the FO statement.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif met with Turkish leadership in Ankara while touring regional countries in the aftermath of U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of his plan to end the Afghanistan war, known as the South Asia strategy.

Both Turkey and Pakistan asserted that “lasting peace in Afghanistan was important for stability in the region” and pledged to continue working together “for peace and stability in Afghanistan,” said the FO statement.

In announcing his South Asia strategy last month, President Trump, echoing the Pentagon and Afghan officials, accused Pakistan of providing sanctuary to terrorists who operate in Afghanistan.

Islamabad has denied the accusations, instead arguing that Afghanistan serves as a shelter for terrorists who carry out attacks in Pakistan.

On Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi emphasized that Islamabad does not shelter terrorist groups, revealing that the United States has not made any specific demands about the concerns expressed by Trump, reports Khaama Press (KP).

PM Abbasi vowed that Pakistan is prepared to take steps in response to American concerns.

The Pakistani leader argued that his country has sustained heavy losses as a result of the deteriorating security conditions in neighboring Afghanistan.

Stressing that Islamabad will continue with its plans to construct a fence along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, PM Abbasi told reporters that his country is open to joint patrols along the international boundary.

However, Pakistani FM Asif on the same day told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara that there is no military solution to the Afghanistan conflict.

In the meeting with Turkish leaders, FM Asif discussed the relationship between their two countries and “mutual coordination on regional peace, security, and connectivity,” revealed the statement issued Pakistan’s Foreign Office.

Asif “reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong desire for further strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries through increased cooperation in political, economic, defense, and people-to-people ties,” added the statement, notes Dawn.

The Turkish president reportedly emphasized his country’s “unflinching commitment” to expanding his country’s relations with fellow Sunni-majority Pakistan.

During his regional tour, Pakistani PM Asif has also stopped in Afghanistan’s neighbors China and Iran before his arrival in Turkey, stressing the need for a political solution to the Afghan war.

According to the U.S. military, President Trump’s strategy to end the war in Afghanistan is “determined” to pressure the Taliban into reconciliation and a political settlement with the Kabul government by making the jihadists realize they cannot win the war.