PTM Leader Calls For End to ‘Proxy War’ in Afghanistan

Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen at a gathering in South Waziristan on Tuesday called for peace and an end to the “proxy war” in Afghanistan.

“Let the Afghans decide their future by themselves through talking and voting,” Pashteen said.

“PTM’s strong stance against the war in Afghanistan is because not only has it destroyed Afghanistan but also Pakhtunkhwa and indeed has kept the region in poverty and stagnation,” Pashteen said.

The people of Waziristan are against the war and insurgency, he said, adding that in “the case of Afghanistan, the land of Waziristan has always been used and encouraging the people to jihad.”

“Negative interventions have ruined us all and Pakistan’s interventions have led us to destruction,” Pashteen said.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Tuesday said he held talks with Pakistan in Islamabad on a range of issues, including Afghanistan, and he pledged to improve ties with the Islamic nation.

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, following a meeting with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, at a press conference said: “We also had a good discussion on the evolving situation in Afghanistan, what to expect, what the challenges are, and what opportunities lie ahead of us. I am happy to share that our approach is the same.”

“We are looking at things in a similar, you know, our perspectives are same, our objectives are shared, and we have good discussion on that and generally, you know, discussing the region, we had a good discussion on the region,” he said.

Also, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said that “Afghanistan of course was an issue of discussion and we will continue to work together to try and facilitate security and stability throughout both of our regions and we are, I think, committed to that and I hope we continue to work together.”

This comes amid an escalation of the war in Afghanistan by the Taliban following the US and NATO announcement of a troop withdrawal by September 11.

Ex-CIA chief David Petraeus warned that the decision by President Joseph Biden’s administration to withdraw troops from Afghanistan may, in view of the current situation, plunge Afghanistan into a civil war.

Speaking at an online conference organized by the Middle East Institute, Petraeus said “we accomplished the mission that took us to Afghanistan in the first place and that actually kept us there afterward,” saying “this was about eliminating the sanctuary in which Al Qaeda planned the 9/11 attacks and conducted the initial training of those attackers.”

But his thoughts on the future were dire:

“To draw down our forces the way we have in Afghanistan … I fear that it will usher back in a kind of very violent civil war that will result in millions of refugees, terrible loss of life and bloodshed, the targeting of those who helped us during our time in the country, and a variety of other challenges which will undoubtedly include the ability of Al-Qaeda and perhaps Islamic State (Daesh) to reestablish sanctuaries,” said Petraeus.

During the forum, Petraeus said that several years back there was a “sustainable commitment” of US troops in Afghanistan, and he noted that the US presence in Afghanistan provided a platform for regional counterterrorism efforts, such as operations in Pakistan.

Taking stock of the past twenty years, Petraeus mentioned poor governance, large-scale corruption and political disunity were challenges that arose, and he acknowledged that the inconsistency of US policy was also a problem.

Petraeus also mentioned the sanctuaries that the Taliban have in Pakistan as a major factor, saying:

“Their sanctuaries in Pakistan, there is a reason the Taliban leadership is called the Quetta Shura, because it is located outside Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province in Pakistan, there is a reason that there is a Peshawar Shura again, and also the Haqqani network.”