Afghanistan moves UN over violations by Pak military on its soil
Kabul : Afghanistan has complained to the United Nations about violations of its territory by Pakistan’s military, including shelling of Afghan territory, violation of its airspace by military aircraft and construction of military posts and barriers on its soil.
The complaint was made in a letter sent by Afghanistan’s deputy permanent representative at the world body, Nazifullah Salarzai, to the president of the UN Security Council on February 22.
The latest letter said the Pakistan military’s violation of Afghan territory dated back to 2012 though the “scope and frequency of these unlawful and unjustifiable acts have increased dramatically since 2017”.
These actions, including shelling of Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, have led to the “death and maiming of scores of innocent Afghan civilians…and destruction of public and private properties” and amount to a “grave breach of the UN Charter (and) international humanitarian law”.
The Afghan letter said concerns about the violations had been conveyed to the UN several times, including through a report on recorded incidents during 2012-17. This document stated Pakistani forces fired nearly 29,000 artillery shells into Afghanistan during this period, killing 82 people and injuring 187.
Since January 2018, Pakistani troops were involved in 161 violations and fired more than 6,000 mortar and artillery shells into Afghan territory.
Earlier this month, Kabul also complained to the UN Security Council about the Islamabad’s “official engagements” with the Taliban that amounted to a violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty. The complaint was made after the Afghan Taliban unveiled plans for meetings with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and US representatives in Islamabad on February 18.
After Afghanistan pointed out that the planned meetings violated UN sanctions and undermined efforts for a peaceful settlement in the war-torn country, and that eight members of a Taliban negotiating team were sanctioned, the militants called off the visit to Islamabad.
The latest letter said former Pakistani premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi visited Kabul in April 2018 and finalised an action plan for peace, while foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi too visited Kabul last September and expressed his commitment to the action plan.
“Nevertheless, what we have seen is nothing but actions that translate to the continued violation of the action plan,” the letter said.
It added that the police chief of Kandahar, General Abdul Razeq Achekzai, who was working to prevent illegal fencing by the Pakistani side, was assassinated in an attack on November 18 last year that was “planned and perpetrated by elements based in the territory of Pakistan”.