ISLAMABAD: National Security Advisor (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf on Thursday told the four-member US delegation headed by Minority Staff Director, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chris Socha who called on the NSA here that abandoning Afghanistan again by the international community would be a mistake.
During the meeting, both the sides discussed situation of Afghanistan along with the ways to enhance cooperation in light of the regional and international developments and challenges, said a news release.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Moeed Yusuf said the world needed to constructively engage the Afghan Taliban in order to prevent governance collapse and avert another refugee crisis.
He said Pakistan was coordinating with the world to have a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. The two sides also exchanged views on the importance of developing the strategic relationship between Pakistan and US, and the determination to strengthen ties in all sectors and vital areas of cooperation.
Meanwhile, in an interview on DawnNews programme Live with Adil Shahzeb, Moeed Yusuf said on Wednesday that no decision had been taken yet to grant amnesty to members of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), emphasising that the state was “very clear and sensitive” on the issue.
At the outset, Yusuf talked about the government’s decision to hold talks with the TTP, saying the militant group had been receiving support from India and Afghan intelligence for the last 10-15 years.
Pakistan had repeatedly told the international community that the Pakistani Taliban had fled to Afghanistan following the Zarb-i-Azb military operation, received sanctuary and were launching attacks from the neighbouring country, the NSA said.
“We gave the whole dossier last year containing [details] of which attack, from where, how much money was spent, pictures of receipts, everything,” he said, referring to the report revealed by the government in November 2020 containing proofs of India’s involvement in terrorism in Pakistan.
“When the situation changed [after the Taliban’s takeover] … the Afghan Taliban are not as antagonistic towards Pakistan as former president Ashraf Ghani. Now the discussion started that the TTP does not have the support base that they (Ghani’s government) and India provided.
“You talk from a position of strength and try to reason. If any Pakistani has strayed from the path and if he [wants to become] a law-abiding citizen according to the laws of Pakistan and the Constitution […] It means if you have committed a crime or terrorism in Pakistan, you will follow the due process of the law.”
When the host asked him whether he was referring to an amnesty, the NSA responded by saying that no such decision had been taken yet.
“I don’t know where this talk started from — that a decision has been made. There is no such decision [of a general amnesty].”
He said the government was aware that agreements with the TTP in the past had not held, adding that at the present stage, talks were being held and the government would see if the TTP was serious.
“The state’s job is to defend its public and not to go with the kinetic option — using bullets — until it becomes impossible to avoid it,” he stressed.
“This is an emotional issue. No Pakistani is left who has not been directly or indirectly affected by terrorism.”
In response to another question about opposition lawmakers not being satisfied with the security briefing given last week, Yusuf said: “It is their choice. The state can only inform.
“This is a decision of the entire nation. These processes [of talks] will continue.”
Talking about the need to hold talks with the TTP, Yusuf said world history, data and statistics showed that an overwhelming majority of conflicts ended with dialogue.
“If you take the position to look at their past, then talks cannot be held. You have to fight till the end,” he added.
Moeed Yusuf also defended the controversial agreement between the government and the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), saying avoiding bloodshed was the foremost priority of the government.
“The state always has several options besides the use of bullet, but it is the responsibility of the state to save its citizens,” he maintained.
The NSA said he was sure that the TLP had Indian support but that did not mean there was direct funding or persons directly involved with them in Pakistan. “It is the age of hybrid war and everything is possible,” he said.