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Safe havens, sanctuaries beyond Afghanistan must end: India at UN


In a scathing attack on Pakistan, India on Monday called for ending special terror zones, safe havens and sanctuaries beyond Afghanistan, saying addressing global terrorism needs an uncompromising response from the international community.

Tanmaya Lal

It is imperative to address the support terror groups like the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, ISIS, al-Oaeda and its designated affiliates such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e- Mohammed, operating outside the fabric of international law, draw from outside Afghanistan, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Tanmaya Lal said.

"The Special Terrorist Zones, safe havens and sanctuaries beyond Afghanistans border must end," Lal told a special meeting of the UN General Assembly on Afghanistan.

Addressing global terrorism needs a comprehensive, uncompromising and a cohesive response from the international community.

Afghanistans security and stability is tied to that of the entire region, he said, adding that India continues to support the government and the people of Afghanistan in realising a stable, secure, united, prosperous, democratic and pluralistic country.

"We deeply value the continuing sacrifice of the Afghan security forces not just for their own people, but also people of the region and the rest of the world," Lal said.

The UN Security Council, while acting on the funds which the terrorists in Afghanistan are generating through their illicit activities, can effectively utilise the 1988 sanctions regime to leverage for promoting peace, the envoy said.

"However, this has not happened. While the cowardliness and the frequency of terror attacks in Afghanistan have reached new heights, and the terrorists continue to gain territory and resources of Afghan people, unfortunately, here in this body, we have witnessed little change.

"The Security Council is still debating whether or not to designate new leaders or to freeze the assets of the slain leader of the Taliban. Even as this debate is going on, we find new threats being posed by ISIS/Daesh in Afghanistan," Lal said at the special debate.

Afghanistan CEO Dr Abdullah Abdullah was also present on the occasion.

Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said that the intensifying violence and instability in Afghanistan, and the growing presence of Daesh and a large number of other terror and militant groups in its ungoverned spaces, is a cause for grave concern for the Afghan people, for Afghanistans neighbors and the international community.

The prolonged conflict in Afghanistan has not only imposed epic suffering on its people, it has also prevented Afghanistan and the entire region from realising its immense economic potential, she said.

UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak and Abdullah discussed the Afghanistan situation, focusing on Afghan-led and Afghan-owned processes and the importance of international assistance, officials said in a statement.

In his address to the General Assembly, Abdullah said in security, over recent months, Afghanistans national security forces have effectively thwarted attempts by the Taliban, alongside the affiliated Haqqani network, as well as elements of a1-Qaida, Daesh and other recognised terror groups from making any notable gains, or capturing a major urban center.

"We are not dealing with one, but several terror outfits that either mirror each other under different labels or indirectly support overlapping agendas," Abdullah said.

He said Afghanistan firmly believes that a "conditions- based approach and clear focus on resolving the problem of regional terrorist sanctuaries and support systems are core issues that will get us closer" to peace and stability.

They also form the cornerstone of the new National Security Strategy to defeat terrorism, work with nations that share their threat perception, and protect people against politicised violence.

"We have long asserted that we seek friendly relations with all nations. We have used every opportunity to make it clear through words and deeds that we will never allow our relations with any single country or group of countries to overshadow or adversely affect relations with other countries in the region or beyond," Abdullah said.

Afghanistan is to be seen as a strategic asset and a platform of cordiality for all, he said.

"We consider negative state rivalries and the use of violent proxy forces as counter-productive. There is no good or bad terrorist or violent extremist.

"We need to agree to fight all forms and shades of terror. We can and should no longer harbour or support one group while fighting another and claim to be fighting terrorism in all its dimensions," Abdullah added.



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