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Legislation in US Senate seeks report on Pakistan’s role in Taliban offensive

Members of the Taliban special forces stop a woman protestor from continuing a demonstration held outside a school in Kabul on September 30, 2021. (Photo by BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images)

By: ChandrashekarBhat

A LEGISLATION has been introduced in the US Senate seeking a report from the secretary of state about his assessment of Pakistan’s role in the Taliban offensive that led to the toppling of the American-backed Afghan government.

It also sought to know Pakistan’s support for the Taliban offensive in Panjshir Valley, prompting Islamabad to term the move as “unwarranted.”

Twenty-two Republican senators on Tuesday(28) introduced the legislation in the Senate to impose sanctions on the Taliban in Afghanistan and on all the foreign governments that support the hardline Islamic group that seized power in Kabul.

The ‘Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight and Accountability Act’ also seeks a report from the secretary of state about his assessment of Pakistan’s role in supporting the Taliban from 2001-2020; in the offensive that led to the toppling of the Government of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s support for Taliban offensive against Panjshir Valley and Afghan resistance.

On Wednesday (29), Pakistan said that the reference made towards the country in the legislation was “unwarranted”.

In response to media queries, Pakistan’s Foreign Office in Islamabad said the draft legislation seems to be a reaction to the debate 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 legislation includes references to Pakistan that are completely unwarranted. We find 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,” it said in a statement.

It said Pakistan consistently maintained that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and a coercive approach would not work, adding that the only way to achieve long term sustainable peace in Afghanistan was through engagement and dialogue.

Moreover, sustained security cooperation between Pakistan and the United States would remain critical in dealing with any future terrorist threat in the region, the Foreign Office said.

It went on to declare the proposed legislative measures as “uncalled for and counter-productive.”

The Taliban swept across Afghanistan last month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities in the backdrop of the withdrawal of the US forces that began on May 1. On August 15, the capital city of Kabul fell to the insurgents.

The Taliban claimed victory over opposition forces in the last holdout province of Panjshir on September 6, completing their takeover of Afghanistan three weeks after capturing Kabul.

Pakistan Weekly

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