Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Zahid Nasrullah Khan on Thursday clarified that India-Pakistan tensions over Kashmir will not impact the Afghan peace process.
He said the Kashmir dispute has no relation with the conflict in Afghanistan.
“While Pakistan and the international community is focused on the resolution of the Afghan conflict, India has chosen this time to destabilize the region,” Mr. Khan told Afghan media during a press briefing in Kabul.
He stated that Kashmir was a longstanding dispute between India and Pakistan and it has nothing to do with the conflict in Afghanistan.
“The prime minister [Imran Khan] is working very hard for the ongoing peace efforts and resolution of the Afghan conflict and to bring an enduring peace in Afghanistan,” Mr. Khan added.
The two traditional nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors exchange war of words following a controversial decision by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who terminated article 370 of the Indian constitution, a controversial move that followed the revocation of special status on the Indian administered Kashmir.
In response to Modi’s provoking move, Pakistan’s national security committee on Wednesday decided to downgrade its diplomatic ties with Delhi and Islamabad also announced that it was cutting trade ties with India completely.
Afghan Critics’ Reaction
Afghan critics said the deliberate attempts by a number of Pakistani politicians to relate the Kashmir dispute on the situation in Afghanistan can be worrying for the ongoing peace process.
Former President Hamid Karzai, who believes that the issue of Kashmir and the war in Afghanistan are totally two separate issues, called on Pakistan to avoid merging the two issues.
“Comments in Pakistan linking peace in Afghanistan to their objectives in Kashmir are indicative of Pakistan viewing Afghanistan as a strategic depth,” Karzai said in a tweet.
“I call on Pakistan government to stop using extremist violence as an instrument of policy in the region. We hope the new measures by the government of India will lead to the betterment and prosperity of people in Jammu and Kashmir as the citizens of India,” he added.
This comes as US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has started the eight – and probably the last – round of his talks with the Taliban who are insisting on the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan as a pre-condition for direct talks with the Afghan government and for a ceasefire.
Moreover, the Afghan government has finalized a list of 15 delegates who will attend intra-Afghan negotiations in the coming weeks.