Afghanistan, partners need to focus on internal challenges: Lodhi

Maleeha Lodhi — Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN — remarked on Saturday that Afghanistan and its partners, especially the United States, need to address the challenges inside Afghanistan.
It is better to focus on the challenges inside Afghanistan “rather than shift the owners for ending the conflict onto others,” she said.
Lodhi also said that about 40% of Afghanistan is under “insurgent control, contested or ungoverned.”
She explained that “illicit drug trafficking provides the insurgent groups with a steady financial income estimated at almost USD4 million a year.”
Hitting back at countries alleging that safe havens for terrorists are present in Pakistan, she remarked: “indeed, with its safe havens inside the country and income from the narcotics trade, the insurgency doesn’t really need any outside assistance or support centres to sustain itself.”
Lodhi also said that “those who imagine sanctuaries outside really need a reality check, and those who speak of changing the mindsets need to look within and their own record of subversion against my country.
As for my country is concerned, we stand ready and committed to extend our full cooperation bilaterally and within the various regional frameworks to promote peace and security in Afghanistan,” she added.
On January 3, Lodhi had set the record straight after Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, made incendiary remarks against Pakistan.
Islamabad’s cooperation with Washington was not based on any aid consideration, but “on our national interests and principles”, said Lodhi, adding “We can review our cooperation if it is not appreciated.”
Lodhi remarked this while responding to Haley’s comments during a news conference, where the US envoy repeated President Donald Trump’s allegations that Pakistan played a double game in its counterterrorism operations.
“We have contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting international terrorism and carried out the largest counter-terrorism operation anywhere in the world,” Ambassador Lodhi asserted.