As Afghanistan prepares for the pullout of the US troops, peace there requires zero tolerance for terrorism and those supporting terrorists must be held accountable, according to India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
“A durable peace in Afghanistan requires a genuine ‘double peace’ – that is, peace within Afghanistan and peace around Afghanistan,” he said on Tuesday during a Security Council debate.
While ensuring that Afghanistan is not used by terrorists to threaten or attack other countries, “those providing material and financial support to terrorist entities must be held accountable”, he said
“For enduring peace in Afghanistan, terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries must be dismantled immediately and terrorist supply chains disrupted. There needs to be zero tolerance for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including its cross-border one,” he said.
Jaishankar said, “Any political settlement in Afghanistan must ensure that the gains of the last two decades are protected, and not reversed. It should, therefore, preserve the constitutional democratic framework and ensure the protection of rights of women, children and minorities.”
In a criticism of Pakistan for limiting Afghanistan’s supply routes, he said, “The international community should work towards the removal of artificial transit barriers imposed on Afghanistan and ensure full transit rights guaranteed to Afghanistan under bilateral and multilateral transit agreements without any hindrance.”
“For Afghanistan’s economic development, it is important to have unhindered access to the high seas,” he added.
He said that to India has operationalised air freight corridors and the Chabahar Port to link Afghanistan regionally.
Using the port, Jaishankar said, India has sent it 75,000 MT of wheat to overcome food insecurity due to the pandemic.
US Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that despite the troop pullout, Washington’s “commitment to Afghanistan’s safety and security endures”.
She said, “We will continue to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in securing their country.”
“We will use our full diplomatic, economic, and assistance toolkit to support the peaceful, stable future the Afghan people want and deserve,” she added.
But Thomas-Greenfield also acknowledged that “we have now seen months of unacceptable violence, often directed toward ethnic and religious minorities and innocent women and girls”.