Afghanistan on Sunday strongly criticised a statement by Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States allegedly linking the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with peace talks in the country. Roya Rahmani, Kabul’s ambassador in Washington, said the statement was “reckless, unwarranted and irresponsible”.
Pakistan’s ambassador, Asad Majeed Khan, had told The New York Times last week that his country may consider moving troops from its border with Afghanistan to the border with Jammu and Kashmir amid tension with India. This could complicate the peace talks with the Taliban at a stage when the US is keen to withdraw, the newspaper said.
Khan said the Kashmir and Afghanistan problems were separate and he was not trying to link them. However, he told the newspaper that India’s decision on Jammu and Kashmir “could not have come at a worse time for us”, because Pakistan wanted to strengthen military control along the Afghanistan border in its effort to help end the conflict there.
India had earlier this month revoked the special status and autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir. This has upset Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India over Kashmir.
In a statement, the Afghan embassy questioned the claim that the tensions in Kashmir could affect its peace process. The embassy said Kashmir was a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan and that trying to link it with the Afghan peace talks was a deliberate attempt to prolong the violence in Afghanistan. “It is a poor excuse used by Pakistan to justify its inaction against the Taliban and to avoid taking a decisive stance against the militant group,” the statement added.
The embassy said it was “a misleading statement which inaccurately suggests that Afghanistan poses a threat” to Pakistan. “There is no threat from Afghanistan to Pakistan,” Rahmani said. “The Afghan government sees no credible reason for Pakistan to maintain tens of thousands of military troops on its western frontier. On the contrary, Afghan stability is frequently threatened by Pakistan-based, sanctioned and supported militant and terrorist groups.”
Meanwhile, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said that Pakistan’s statement showed the “sinister intention towards peacemaking in Afghanistan”.