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US bill to probe Pak support for Taliban rejected

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office has responded to a draft bill tabled by US senators regarding a probe of the country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan’s alleged support for the Taliban offensive, saying that the proposed legislation is “uncalled for and counterproductive”.
In a statement on Wednesday, FO Spokesperson Iftikhar Ahmad said, “We see that a debate is underway in Washington both in the media and on Capitol Hill to reflect on and examine the circumstances leading to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The draft legislation introduced in the US Senate by a group of Senate Republicans seems to be a reaction to this debate.”
The spokesperson said that the legislation “includes references to Pakistan that are completely unwarranted”. He said that Pakistan finds all such references “inconsistent with the spirit of Pakistan-US cooperation on Afghanistan since 2001, including facilitation of the Afghan peace process and during the recent evacuations of American and other nationals from Afghanistan”.
Ahmed stated for the record that Pakistan has consistently maintained that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. “Similarly, a coercive approach will not work and the only way to achieve long term sustainable peace in Afghanistan is through engagement and dialogue,” he added.
The spokesperson said that sustained security cooperation between Pakistan and the United States would “remain critical in dealing with any future terrorist threat in the region”. “Such proposed legislative measures are, therefore, uncalled for and counterproductive.
Earlier on Monday, the US senators tabled a bill in the Senate, demanding a deeper investigation into the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan and sanctions on the group as well as those who assisted them in driving out the Ashraf Ghani-led regime.
The ‘Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act’ seeks to establish a task force that will focus on continued evacuation of American citizens, legal permanent residents and Special Immigrant Visa holders from Afghanistan.
Introduced by 22 American Republican senators, the bill seeks to tackle issues related to the Afghan withdrawal, such as counterterrorism strategies and sanctioning the Taliban for alleged human rights abuses in the country.
The bill said that further assessment of “support by state and non-state actors, including the government of Pakistan, for the Taliban between 2001 and 2020, provision of sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics and medical support, training, equipping, and tactical, operational, or strategic direction” should be held.
The bill seeks a probe into the “support by state and non-state actors, including the government of Pakistan” for the 2021 Taliban offensive that helped topple the Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani, adding that the areas to be probed are provision of sanctuary of space, intelligence support, financial support, logistics, training and medical support for the group.
The bill further seeks a probe into support for the Taliban allegedly by non-state actors and the government of Pakistan into the Panjshir Valley operation by the group and against their military offensives targeting the Afghan resistance. – TLTP