UN must step up pressure on Pakistan: US diplomat Nikki Haley

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Coming back from a UN Security Council visit to Afghanistan, US Ambassador Nikki Haley underscored on Monday that the Kabul government wants world powers to raise pressure on Pakistan. She joined the 14 other council envoys for talks with top Afghan leaders in Kabul at the weekend as the government reflects holding peace talks with the Taliban to conclude decades of insurgency.

Haley told reporters at UN headquarters, “They feel confident that the Taliban will be coming to the table.” As the peace talks will be Afghan-led, the Kabul government did request that the Security Council have influence in to bring Pakistan onboard. “They did ask us for consensus to put further pressure on Pakistan to come to the table and change their behavior,” the US Ambassador said. Haley said the Afghan government is making extended steps towards stability and added that “continue to make ten steps forward and with Pakistan, they feel like they continue to take steps backward”. “As long as they are supporting terrorism in Pakistan, the Afghan community is continuing to feel it is not safe,” Haley said.

However, Haley did not specify what measures could be taken to pressure Pakistan but the council does have the authority to enforce sanctions. Pakistan has been accused of supporting the Taliban and various militant groups in Afghanistan from a long time to the charges they deny continuously. The US President Donald Trump has stopped US payments of military help to Pakistan worth $900 million, claiming Pakistan is not doing enough to target Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani guerilla group. A question mark also looms over an additional $1 billion of US military equipment for Pakistan.

The US officials consider that Pakistan’s intelligence agency and military have long aided fund and arm the Taliban to fight increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan, whose government is backed by the US. The Afghan government also appealed council to help in addressing narcotics production and trafficking, looking at “every country that moves them,” said Haley.

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