North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is in Afghanistan to fight terrorism, says chief

Blanche Robertson
December 7, 2018

The premier said United States special envoy on Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad during his recent visit to Islamabad had very productive meetings with him and the foreign minister on the subject.

He added that the joint efforts can help Afghanistan achieve a lasting peace.

Pakistan could play a key role in facilitating talks between the Taliban and government of Afghanistan, he said.

"Pakistan has always played an active role to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and it is a matter of great satisfaction that the United States has recognised Islamabad's contribution to this effect", the prime minister was reported as saying.

Pakistan continues to use Afghan Taliban as a "hedge" against India, a top U.S. commander has told lawmakers, as he expressed America's frustration over Islamabad's failure to take concrete steps to deny safe havens to terrorist groups. He said Iranian Foreign Minister Jawwad Zarif also paid a visit to Islamabad and discussed the modalities for Yemen peace process.

He said during a summit last July, NATO chose to strengthen its support to Afghanistan with more troops to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces so they can create the conditions for peace and reconciliation.

Speaking to the opening session of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers meeting on peace and war in Afghanistan in Brussels, Stoltenberg said that the alliance will continue its military and financial support to Afghanistan through to 2024 so that the country is prevented from becoming safe haven for terrorists. "During my swearing-in ceremony when Navjot Singh Sidhu visited we had discussed this".

"I am glad that the government pressed for the opening of the corridor", he added.

"We continue to see the Taliban being utilised as a hedge against India rather than as part of a stable, reconciled Afghanistan", McKenzie said.

U.S. fails to condemn Hamas at UN General Assembly
In a statement early Friday, Hamas thanked the states that voted against the resolution and rebuked those who voted in favor. The resolution also reaffirmed "unwavering support" for a two-state solution along "the pre-1967 borders".

"We have religious sites that are important for Hindus and Buddhists; we should open them up and facilitate the people", he added.

Expressing happiness over the response from the Sikh community, PM Imran said, "Kartarpur is for them what Medina is for us".

"We are hopefully at a pre-negotiation stage, and there are some elements trying to improve their bargaining position by trying to make military progress", he said.

Turning towards domestic issues, the Prime Minister lauded the performance of his economic team to steer the country out of severe economic crisis, "Economic indicators are showing positive trend as Pakistan has now entered the phase of an emerging economy", he contented.

"If the situation is as bleak as our opponents paint, then investments would have stopped coming", he said as he listed investment pledges made by different multinational companies including Suzuki Motors, Exxon Mobil and JW Forland, among others.

"Major multi-national companies have chose to invest millions of dollars in the country".

He was addressing a cabinet meeting in Islamabad on Thursday.

The cabinet also approved formation of a new board of trustees for Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and appointment of chairman Port Qasim Authority, sources added.

In addition, the cabinet approved the launching of a Rs50 coin to mark World Anti-Corruption Day, sources said.

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