Pakistan tells UN won’t be ‘scapegoat’ in Afghan war

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addresses the UN General Assembly in New York on September 21, 2017. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 22 September 2017
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Pakistan tells UN won’t be ‘scapegoat’ in Afghan war

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan refuses to be a “scapegoat” for Afghanistan’s bloodshed or to fight wars for others, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the United Nations on Thursday.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Abbasi did not explicitly criticize US President Donald Trump’s new strategy on Afghanistan but made clear his displeasure with the renewed onus on Pakistan.
“Having suffered and sacrificed so much due to our role in the global counter terrorism campaign, it is especially galling for Pakistan to be blamed for the military or political stalemate in Afghanistan,” Abbasi said.
“We are not prepared to be anyone’s scapegoat,” he said.
“What Pakistan is not prepared to do is to fight the Afghan war on Pakistan’s soil. Nor can we endorse any failed strategy that will prolong and intensify the suffering of the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and other regional countries,” he said.
Abbasi said that 27,000 Pakistanis have been killed by extremists since the launch of the US war on terror after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
He called for a priority on eliminating extremists, including from the Daesh group and Al-Qaeda, in Afghanistan but ultimately a political solution with the Taliban.
US and Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan of playing a double game, with the powerful intelligence services — not the civilian government — maintaining ties with extremists.
US forces tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 in Abbottabad, a popular resort for Pakistan’s military elite.
Trump, unveiling a new strategy last month, pledged to take a tougher line on Pakistan — making public what had long been more private US frustrations.
Trump has sent thousands more US troops into Afghanistan in a bid to defeat the Taliban, reversing his previous calls to end America’s longest-ever war.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in his own speech to the United Nations appealed to Pakistan for dialogue, saying that the neighbors can work together to eliminate extremism.
Analysts say that Islamabad’s role in Afghanistan is rooted in the security elite’s fixation on historic rival India, which has warm ties with the post-Taliban government in Afghanistan.
Abbasi, who took office last month after his predecessor Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from office over a corruption scandal, used his UN address to renew Pakistan’s condemnation of India’s rule in Kashmir, the Himalayan territory divided between the two nuclear powers.
Accusing India of “massive and indiscriminate force” in Kashmir, Abbasi urged an international investigation and warned of escalation on their military frontier, the Line of Control.
“Pakistan has acted with restraint. But if India does venture across the LoC, or acts upon its doctrine of limited war against Pakistan, it will evoke a strong and matching response,” he said.
He was referring to an Indian strategic doctrine, rarely discussed openly, of a limited military response on Pakistan that is intended to stop short of triggering a nuclear reprisal.
India accuses Islamabad of training, arming and infiltrating militants into Kashmir. India considered but ultimately decided not to strike Pakistan after a bloody 2008 assault on Mumbai, which was planned by Pakistan-based extremists.


Soccer player gunned down in latest Amsterdam violence

Updated 27 min 49 sec ago

Soccer player gunned down in latest Amsterdam violence

  • Defender Kelvin Maynard, 32, died when two assailants on a motorbike opened fire on his car on Wednesday night in a south-east district of the Dutch capital
  • Maynard’s murder came on the same day a prominent Dutch lawyer, involved in a case against a gang accused of drug-related killings, was gunned down in front of his Amsterdam home

AMSTERDAM: A former Dutch professional footballer who played for clubs in Portugal, Hungary and England has been shot dead in the latest violence to afflict Amsterdam, police said.
Defender Kelvin Maynard, 32, died when two assailants on a motorbike opened fire on his car on Wednesday night in a south-east district of the Dutch capital, a police statement said.
Police appealed for any witnesses to the shooting to come forward to assist in the investigation.
“The motive is still totally unknown, as is what led up to it and who might have been involved,” a police spokeswoman said.
She said that Maynard had had previous run-ins with the police, but would not give any details. “His name is registered in our systems,” she told Reuters.
Maynard was playing this season for Dutch amateur club “Alphense Boys.” Previously, he had been with Dutch side Volendam, Portugal’s Sporting Clube Olhanense, Hungary’s Kecskemeti TE, Belgium’s Antwerp FC and England’s Burton Albion.
Tributes flooded in from shocked soccer players and coaches who expressed support for his wife and children.
“Kelvin was a big, tough guy, but inside he was a teddy bear,” former coach Joop Gall told broadcaster RTV Drente. “We had regular contact, especially about his sick mother.”
Maynard’s murder came on the same day a prominent Dutch lawyer, involved in a case against a gang accused of drug-related killings, was gunned down in front of his Amsterdam home.
Alarm has been growing over crime in Amsterdam, a city of 800,000 people where recreational drug use has long been tolerated by law enforcement, creating an underworld of dealers and suppliers which sometimes fuels violence.