Pakistan is not seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said, claiming that Islamabad favours a strong, stable and prosperous neighbour in its west.
“We seek no strategic depth in Afghanistan. Allow me to categorically say that. We seek relations with Afghanistan which are based on the principle of stable, peaceful Afghanistan, a sovereign Afghanistan, an independent Afghanistan,” Khar said at an event yesterday organised by the Council on Foreign Relations, an eminent American think tank.
This she said is in the national interest of Pakistan.
“What I consider today to be the primary goal national interest of Pakistan is a peaceful and stable — not necessarily even friendly — Afghanistan.
“Because we know from history that until and unless there is peace and stability in Afghanistan, we will not be able to find our peace and stability and we will not be able to grow economically the way we wish,” she said.
“The best possible scenario that we can think of for 2014 is that as elections take place and as transition takes place in Afghanistan, all Afghan groups are able to demonstrate their strength, their will through the election process, not through violence.
“And that is a future that we must be working toward. That is the immediate short-term future that we must be working towards,” Khar said.
Pakistan, she said, has no intention nor any national interest to impose any type of government in Afghanistan. It is for the Afghans to do so, she observed.
Pakistan, she said, fears for instability in Afghanistan because instability from there permeates through the 2,000-plus kilometre border that Pakistan shares with it.
“There are 53,000 people which cross the Pakistan-Afghan border every day. So you can imagine the permeation and the instantaneous effects of any instability in Afghanistan,” she said.
Khar said recently there has been infiltration in Pakistan territory where hundreds and two hundreds of militants come inside the country, and as recently as three weeks back they beheaded, slaughtered 70 Pakistani soldiers.
“All of these are not signs which inspire a lot of confidence in the security situation in Afghanistan, and we fear that through the long border we will have to face more challenges in the future,” she added.