US Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan, where in an apparent warning to Pakistan he said that days to shelter terrorists have gone and Pakistan has much to lose by continuing to harbor terrorism. He further said Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with peace efforts in Afghanistan. “For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over. President Trump has put Pakistan on notice,” Pence told American troops at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. He reiterated word for word President Donald Trump’s warning that Pakistan must stop offering cross-border safe havens to Taliban factions and armed militant groups fighting US troops and their Afghan allies.
Foreign Office spokesperson while responding to Mike Pence’s anti-Pakistan statement maintained that allies do not put each other on notice. Pakistan maintained that in spite of putting blames on a crucial ally in war against terror, US focus should be on peace and reconciliation mechanisms. The FO spokesman responded: “Instead of Pakistan, on notice should be those factors responsible for exponential increase in drug production, expansion of ungoverned spaces, industrial scale corruption, breakdown of governance, and letting Daesh gain a foothold in Afghanistan.” Pakistan rightly expressed deep concern over Pence’s comments regarding Pakistan and its role in the war against terrorism.
Statement of Pence seems more saddening considering the number of recent meetings between US high officials with Pakistani civilian and military leaderships, where both parties tried to redress concerns of each others.
Pakistan has number of times brushed aside allegations of providing safe heavens to terrorists as country has taken a firm stance to take action against all terrorist groups without any discrimination. There is no other country that has been affected more than Pakistan in war against terror. Pakistan has rendered huge sacrifices, over seventy thousand of its people became victims of terrorism, and country also suffered economic losses of billions of dollars.
It is fact that US troops stationed in Afghanistan fighting against Taliban for decades but even today Taliban are regaining control of more areas. Still half of the area of Afghanistan is ungoverned. It has become a tradition for US to blame Pakistan for own failures in Afghanistan. Best way forward to bring peace in the region is to accept own failures and take all stakeholders in confidence in forming policies to eliminate terrorists.