0950 GMT April 24, 2019
At a Senate meeting in Islamabad on Monday, adviser to Pakistani PM on national security and foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said Daesh, mainly active in Iraq and Syria, is a byproduct of Washington’s long-running agenda in the region.
It was the US that created the militant groups operating in Pakistan’s tribal areas in 1980s and left them there after the ex-Soviet Union’s war in neighboring Afghanistan ended, he stated.
This “contributed to decades of instability in Pakistan and the region,” stressed the Pakistani official.
He said Washington is repeating the same policies in the region, setting the stage for the emergence of Daesh in the Middle East.
The comments come in response to US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last week, in which he blamed the policies of some governments, including Pakistan, for instability in the region.
“Instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world — in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of central America, Africa and Asia,” Obama said.
Aziz, however, said the “concerns shown by US President Barack Obama were in contradiction with the realities on ground.”
Obama’s prediction will not come true if Pakistan continues to stand firm against internal and external threats, he said.
Pakistan has been waging a major offensive against militant hideouts across the troubled northwestern tribal regions since June 2014, when a deadly raid on the Karachi International Airport ended the government’s faltering peace talks with militants.
Pakistan’s army intensified its military operations after pro-Taliban elements killed over 150 people, most of them children, in an armed assault on a school in Peshawar in December 2014.
Pakistan’s military says more than 3,600 militants have been killed since the launch of the operation.
Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001, when Pakistan entered an alliance with the US in the so-called war on terror. Thousands more have been displaced by the wave of violence and militancy sweeping across the country.
Since 2004, the US has been carrying out drone attacks against what it calls militant targets in Pakistan and Afghanistan, among other countries, but figures show civilians have been the victim of such assaults in most cases.
Islamabad has repeatedly condemned Washington’s drone strikes in Pakistan as a violation of the country’s sovereignty. The UN and several human rights bodies say the US is the world’s number one user of “targeted killings,” largely because of its drone raids in Pakistan and Afghanistan.