Pakistan rejects US allegations of harboring terrorists

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan on Thursday rejected U.S. allegations that it was harboring terrorist safe havens.

The country's National Security Committee, which advises the government on security and foreign affairs, met Prime Minister Shahid Khan Abbasi in capital Islamabad.

In the five-hour-long meeting, attended by three chiefs of the armed forces and senior ministers, it was said that the U.S. was scapegoating Pakistan, something that will not help stabilize Afghanistan.

Trump announced on Monday that the U.S. would not commit to a timetable to end its military presence in Afghanistan and blamed Pakistan for harboring terrorists on its soil.

In a tersely-worded statement the committee asked Washington to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries in Aghanistan, including those responsible for spreading terror in Pakistan.

The Afghan war cannot be fought in Pakistan, said the statement.

The committee called U.S. claims of giving billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan misleading.

The reimbursements to Pakistan since 2001 only account for part of the cost of ground facilities and air corridors used by the U.S. for its operations in Afghanistan, rather than any financial aid or assistance, the statement added.

The committee said that the U.S. should recognize the sacrifices of thousands of Pakistanis and $120 billion of economic losses the country incurred during its part in the war.

Over the years, it added, Pakistan had worked with both the U.S and Afghanistan to promote peace through dialogue, which in Pakistan's view, remained the best option to bring stability to this war-torn country.

A prolonged military campaign in Afghanistan has resulted in destruction and killing of hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians, it said.

The committee maintained that Pakistan had taken indiscriminate actions against terrorist networks, proof of which is the improvement in the security situation within Pakistan.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, ousting the Taliban after it gave sanctuary to Osama bin Laden. It currently has 8,400 troops in Afghanistan.

However, recent years have seen the Taliban and other armed groups grow in strength as the U.S.-backed government in Kabul struggles to assert its authority across the country.

Source: Anadolu Agency