ISI has been effective in fighting terror, says China’s new Afghan envoy

China’s newly appointed special envoy for Afghanistan Sun Yuxi on Monday strongly backed the role played by Pakistan in fighting terrorism amid concern from some Afghan and Indian officials about the destabilising role played by Pakistan-linked terror groups in the country.

Rejecting suggestions that elements in the Pakistani government or the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were fanning the terror problem in neighbouring Afghanistan, Mr. Sun said the ISI “has been effective in fighting against terrorism”.

The May 23 attack by gunmen on India’s Consulate in Herat was blamed by President Hamid Karzai on the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Mr. Sun, a former Ambassador to Afghanistan and India who was appointed as special envoy last week and will leave for Kabul on Tuesday on his first visit in his new post, said in an interaction with journalists, "I think as an agency for the government and military for Pakistan, the ISI has been effective in fighting against terrorism. As for the specific [Herat] case, I have not been following regional developments for some time but I do believe that the Pakistan government or any responsible agency of Pakistan will only fight against terrorism instead of being involved with any terrorist groups”.

India has long expressed concerns about its interests in Afghanistan being targeted by Pakistan-linked terror groups. Mr. Sun said he hoped to work closely with both India and Pakistan in his new role.

“I want to tell my colleagues from India and Pakistan that I know that both countries are making efforts to safeguard peace and stability and helping Afghanistan with reconstruction,” he said. “As special envoy,

I will keep a close working relationship with counterparts from India and Pakistan so as to contribute to peace and fighting terrorism”.

Following his visit to Afghanistan this week, Mr. Sun will travel to Islamabad. He is expected to hold talks with top leaders in the Pakistani government and military and discuss the situation in Afghanistan. He said he believed the Pakistan government would “play an important and positive role in the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan and fight terrorism together with the international community”.

Mr. Sun also highlighted China’s own terror concerns, with some members of the separatist group the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) – an Islamist group campaigning for independence in the western Xinjiang region – believed to have ties with Afghanistan-based groups.

“When I was ambassador in Afghanistan, particularly before the September 11 attacks, hundreds of people coming from Xinjiang were receiving training in Afghanistan,” he said, with the peak number around one thousand. The war in Afghanistan dealt “a heavy blow” to those groups, he said.

Mr. Sun said China would continue with its plans to invest and develop infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, including building a transport and electrical power network covering the whole country, constructing residential communities and developing mineral resources. China’s commercial assistance projects have reached around $ 1.6 billion Yuan ($ 260 million).

With India and China both investing in infrastructure projects and "a great need for hospitals and schools", both countries should consider undertaking joint projects, he said.

The Chinese special envoy said he was “optimistic” about Afghanistan's future, with the imminent withdrawal of U.S. troops underlining the immediate need to achieve “nationwide reconciliation” with “all parties brought into the mainstream”.

“The Afghan government is now in place for 10 years and should begin to shoulder major responsibility,” he said. “The U.S. is beginning to withdraw security forces and we feel happy about this. We also welcome the fact," he added, "that some military bases of the U.S. are still in operation.”

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 11:38:08 PM |

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