News / Asia

Pakistani Adviser Faults US Afghan Policy

FILE - Adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz
FILE - Adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan’s national security and foreign policy adviser, Sartaj Aziz, has criticized the United States' Afghan strategy, saying it has failed to defeat terrorism, promote economic development or create political stability in neighboring Afghanistan.  He reiterated Islamabad’s demand for an end to end U.S. drone strikes against suspected militants on the Pakistani side of the border. 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government has promised to improve Pakistan’s strained relations with the United States and has rarely commented on Washington’s Afghan strategy since taking charge in June.  Instead, it has stepped up efforts to promote peace talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban ahead of the withdrawal of most U.S.-led coalition forces from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

But Sharif’s adviser on national security and foreign policy, Sartaj Aziz, for the first time on Wednesday criticized the United States for failing to achieve its stated Afghan objectives and went on to blame the strategy for the rise in militancy in Pakistan.

“Did they [the U.S.] bring peace to Afghanistan?  No.  Did they end terrorism? No.  Did they bring development to Afghanistan?  No.  Did they create a stable democracy?  No," Aziz said. "So, they did not achieve any of their objectives but the problems they created for us are for all to see now.”

Islamist militants linked to the Afghan Taliban are waging a bloody insurgency in Pakistan and have killed thousands of people, including security force members, in recent years.  The militants are entrenched in the northwestern tribal belt bordering Afghanistan and despite repeated offensives the Pakistan army has been unable to uproot their bases.

Aziz reiterated Islamabad’s concerns that in the absence of a sustained peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, the withdrawal of foreign forces from that country will strengthen insurgents on both sides of the porous border.

“If there is large-scale fighting then obviously there will be spillover effects.  So, we are working very hard to promote reconciliation and dialogue among Afghan factions," he said. "We do not want to interfere into Afghan matters but to facilitate reconciliation so that the political transition and the security transition go forward smoothly and there is no turmoil which would spillover into Pakistan.”

U.S. officials, however, have long accused operatives of the Pakistani spy agency (ISI) of sheltering fugitive Afghan insurgents and helping them carry out cross-border raids on local and international forces. These suspicions remain at the center of political debates in Washington. 

These concerns were reiterated last month by the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ed Royce, during a congressional hearing on Afghanistan.

“Pakistan’s military and security service continue to complicate matters by supporting the Taliban," he said. "Pakistan is a double-dealer, paying lip service to cooperation with the U.S. unfortunately, while simultaneously undermining our primary objective for bringing Afghanistan under the control of a democratically elected government.”

Pakistani adviser Aziz, in his remarks on Wednesday, again demanded the United States end its drone strikes against suspected militants in the tribal areas near the Afghan border.

“I think by and large whatever targets they [U.S.] had, what they call high value targets, have been largely taken care of and now the time has come to stop them,” he said.

The CIA-run drone campaign has been at the center of recent tensions between Islamabad and Washington. Pakistani officials insist the missile attacks violate their country’s sovereignty and civilian deaths in these actions are fueling militancy in the region.  American officials maintain the strikes are carefully planned to avoid collateral damage and describe drones as an effective weapon to fight terrorism.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs