Monday, 10 December 2018

Pakistan, US spar over drone strike

Pakistan US

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States made conflicting claims on this week’s drone attack in Kurram Agency by the US forces based in Afghanistan as the two sides struggle to build trust.

Addressing a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said that Pakistan sticks to its stance that the US drone strike targeted an Afghan refugee camp near Kurram Agency.

However, US embassy spokesperson Richard Snelsire denied Pakistan’s assertion. “The claim in an MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) statement that US forces struck an Afghan refugee camp in Kurram Agency yesterday (January 24) is false,” he said.

On a question regarding drone strike, Dr Faisal said Pakistan’s position remained the same. “We condemn the drone strike in Kurram Agency carried out by the Resolute Support Mission, which targeted an Afghan refugee camp. Pakistan continues to emphasise to the US the importance of sharing actionable intelligence so that appropriate action is taken against terrorists by our forces within our territory,” he said. The spokesperson did not comment when questioned about the existence of any ‘agreement’ on US drone strikes inside Pakistan .

Dr Faisal said Pakistan had also been stressing the need of early repatriation of Afghan refugees, as their presence in Pakistan helps Afghan terrorists to melt and morph among them. “Such unilateral actions are detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism,” he said.

The spokesperson said Pakistan had always aspired to an early, dignified, sustainable and complete repatriation of Afghan refugees. “We also believe that it is very important that Afghanistan and the international community invest in the creation of pull factors for incentivizing the return of refugees through, for example, provision of homes and employment, and take appropriate steps for a smooth reintegration of the returned refugees into the Afghan society,” he explained.

To a question, he said the monitoring team (MT) of the United Nations Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee, dealing with the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Daesh, is in Pakistan for a two-day visit. “The last visit of the MT to Pakistan took place in January 2015,” he said.

Dr Faisal said the visit of the MT was part of its regular visits to member states to assess compliance with the UN sanctions regimes relating to the implementation of UNSC resolution 1267.

“The team also apprised member states of current international and regional threat assessment from terrorism and suggests a way in which the member states can improve their implementation of sanctions measures,” he said.

During the visit, he said, the MT was being briefed on the implementation of 1267 obligations as well as shared our perspective on the terrorist threat in the region. “The visit also gave us an opportunity to highlight our accomplishments in turning the tide against terrorism inside Pakistan and in support of the global fight against terrorism,” he said.

Asked if the UNSC team will be given access to Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, Faisal said: “The MT has a particular mandate of UN sanctions regime related to the implementation of the UNSC resolution 1267.”

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