Terror Havens On Durand Line Must End For Peace: India

India on Friday at the United Nations (UN) said that as peace process and violence cannot go together, therefore for durable peace in Afghanistan there must be “an end to terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries operating across the Durand Line”.

Speaking during Arria Formula Meeting at the UN on the theme “What can the Security Council do to support the peace process in Afghanistan”, Ambassador TS Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, said, “Even as we meet today, fighting continues in Afghanistan in several areas across the country. Reports are coming in of civilians, including children and women, killed or injured in the violence. Terrorist attacks continue to target innocents and institutions of learning.”

He further said, “It is our view that peace process and violence cannot go hand in hand, and we call for immediate comprehensive ceasefire. For durable peace in Afghanistan, we have to put an end to terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries operating across the Durand Line. The report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team under the Al-Qaeda/Da’esh Sanctions Committee has also highlighted the presence of foreign fighters in Afghanistan. For violence to end in Afghanistan, these terrorist supply chains must be broken.”

He urged the Security Council to speak “unequivocally against violence and terrorist forces” and act against the terrorist sanctuaries and safe-havens.

Speaking on the India-Afghanistan relations, Tirumurti said, “India and Afghanistan are contiguous neighbours. We are connected together by centuries of historical, people-to-people and cultural relations. India has stood resolutely behind the Government and people of Afghanistan and has supported the development of Afghanistan.”

He also gave a number of necessary points that need to be followed to achieve “our endeavour” to bring “lasting peace and stability” in Afghanistan.

“Firstly, the peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. Solutions must come from the Afghans themselves, in line with the wishes and aspirations of all sections of Afghan society. Sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan must be respected,” he said.

He further said, “Secondly, there needs to be zero tolerance of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Afghanistan can succeed only when terrorism no longer flows across the Durand Line. Terror and violence cannot be the instrument to shape Afghanistan’s future or dictate the choices Afghans make. It is important to ensure that no one provides sanctuary to terrorists who threaten Afghanistan or any other country in the region. Those who do so must be held accountable.”

“Thirdly, the international community, simply cannot afford to lose the gains of the last two decades. The progress achieved so far is hard-won. The future which we seek should have a place for every Afghan and should have space for everyone’s aspiration. In particular, India is convinced that the rights of women need to be strongly protected. Gender mainstreaming and safeguards are integral to the future of Afghanistan and we appreciate the remarks of the President of Afghanistan in this context. The rights of the minorities and the vulnerable need to be safeguarded. Respect for human rights and democracy needs to be ingrained in any framework that a future Afghanistan designs for itself. The recent targeted attacks on ANDSF, Universities, women occupying positions of responsibility and youth only serve to highlight the concerted effort by terrorists and their sponsors to erode the gains of the last two decades,” he told the UN.

“Fourthly, it is important to ensure that the issue of full transit rights to Afghanistan is not used by States to extract political price from Afghanistan. The international community should discourage medieval mentalities and work towards removal of artificial transit barriers imposed on Afghanistan. It should ensure all transit rights guaranteed to Afghanistan under bilateral and multilateral transit agreements operate without any hindrance. India remains committed to working with the international community towards achieving this shared objective,” he added. (ANI)

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