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Pak clarifies Qureshi’s remarks on IS; says it has ‘no favourites’ in Afghanistan

Pakistan PM Imran Khan had said that the Pakistan government is not a spokesperson for the Taliban and Islamabad cannot be held responsible for the actions of the insurgent group in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of soldiers from the US and its allies.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Pakistan on Monday clarified that it favoured no particular side in war-torn Afghanistan and said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s recent comments on the Islamic State (IS) and Afghan Taliban were being “misconstrued”.

Mr. Qureshi, during a press conference in Multan on Saturday, was asked about reports of IS militants moving into Afghanistan.

“If they’re moving in from Iraq or Syria then whose responsibility is it to check them? The Afghan government’s…Who has to keep a watch on them and monitor them? The Afghan rulers and government have to. I hope they won’t neglect their responsibility,” he had replied.

He elaborated that neither the Afghan government nor the Taliban, Afghanistan’s neighbours or the international community wanted an IS resurgence. “There is a consensus of opinion on this. Now they have a responsibility and they should fulfil it,” he had said.

But his remarks were presented on social media and in Afghan press as if he expected the Taliban, and not the Afghan government, to handle the situation.

“The foreign minister clearly spoke about consensus among the international community, the regional players and the Afghans themselves against the menace of terrorism. His remarks cannot in any way be misconstrued as advocacy for a particular side in the Afghan conflict,” the Foreign Office said in the statement.

“We have repeatedly stated that Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan. We see all sides in the conflict as Afghans who need to decide about their future themselves. We will continue to play a constructive facilitation role in the Afghan peace process,” the statement said.

It called for an “inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive” political settlement to the Afghan conflict.

Last week, Pakistan PM Imran Khan had said that the Pakistan government is not a spokesperson for the Taliban and Islamabad cannot be held responsible for the actions of the insurgent group in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of soldiers from the US and its allies.

Mr. Khan said Pakistan will have good relations with whoever the Afghans choose. “We have no favourites now,” he had said.


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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 2:30:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pak-clarifies-qureshis-remarks-on-is-says-it-has-no-favourites-in-afghanistan/article35694104.ece

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