The statement issued after the National Security Committee meeting gave a detailed rejoinder to all elements of concern in the new US policy and President Trump’s speech — the allegations about sanctuaries, claims about taking billions and billions of dollars in aid from Washington, fears about nuclear security, and the formalisation of India’s role in Afghanistan.
The bottom line of the response is that Pakistan remains committed to international efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan, but it also wants its concerns to be addressed, including the main issue of sanctuaries on Afghan soil.
The demand for elimination of sanctuaries was thrice mentioned in the unusually long statement.
Counterterrorism cooperation with the US and Afghanistan, the NSC said, was contingent upon:
1. Focusing on core issues of eliminating safe havens inside Afghanistan,
2. Border management,
3. Return of refugees
4. Restarting the peace process for a political settlement in Afghanistan.”
At another point, the NSC underscored that it would “more specifically” want “effective and immediate US military efforts to eliminate sanctuaries harbouring terrorists and miscreants on the Afghan soil, including those responsible for fomenting terror in Pakistan”.
Separately, it said: “Pakistan is committed to not allowing its soil to be used for violence against any other country. We expect the same from our neighbours.”