The meeting between United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Bagram airbase tells a story of American failures, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday.
“Despite the US being present in Afghanistan for the past 16 years, their secretary of state could not go out of their airbase in Afghanistan and had to meet the Afghan president inside it,” Asif observed.
“This situation explains the complete story of American failures in Afghanistan,” he informed the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. “The Afghan president became a stranger in his own country after meeting Tillerson at the Bagram Airbase,” he said.
While briefing the committee on United States’ new South Asia policy, Asif said that the US still feels Pakistan is using the Taliban against it in Afghanistan.
However, he was quite to say that Pakistan’s influence on the Afghan Taliban has waned, which has led to them changing their bases.
Tillerson had visited Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to discuss US President Donald Trump’s new South Asia policy.
His message in Pakistan appeared significantly toned down as compared to the usual American rhetoric on alleged terrorist sanctuaries on Pakistani soil, although in essence there was little difference in the messaging.
The secretary had just a day earlier told reporters at Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase that Islamabad needed to have “a clear-eyed view” of terror safe havens on its territory and cautioned that bilateral ties would be conditions-based in terms of whether or not its leaders take the “specific” actions that were being required of them.
During Secretary Tillerson’s visit it was impressed upon the US side that Washington’s policy in the region had been hammered out by generals who had failed in Afghanistan, but were not ready to admit to the ground realities, Asif had told the Senate on Wednesday.
“We will cooperate with the US but will not accept being held responsible for anyone’s failures,” Asif said on Thursday, vowing to take the parliament into confidence regarding foreign policy. “Keeping the parliament out of relations (with other nations) is disastrous.”
India collaborating with NDS to destabilise western borders
Asif also alleged during his address that India is trying to destabilise the western borders of Pakistan by collaborating with Afghan intelligence.
He said that the collaboration between India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) is working against Pakistan.
He also claimed that the Afghan Taliban and the militant Islamic State (IS) group are fighting among themselves in Afghanistan.