India demands stronger Security Council action against terrorists in Afghanistan

United Nations, Dec 22 (IANS) India has demanded stronger Security Council action aimed at terrorist organisations operating against Afghanistan and warned against the looming Islamic State threat to the nation wracked by decades violence from the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Speaking on Monday at a Council session on Afghanistan, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Bhagwant S. Bishnoi said action was needed the terrorists “so as to deny them sanctuaries and safe haven”.

He added: “What is alarming is the revelation in recent reports, including the UN Secretary General’s report, regarding the presence of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) affiliated groups, particularly in Nangarhar Province” of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative Mahmoud Saikal called on the Council to target Pakistanis “in the state structurea¿ who aid terrorists. Although he diplomatically did not directly mention Pakistanis, he made it clear the reference was to them by citing the military-civilian tension and the use of proxies.

“Tension between military and civilian control in domestic politics have instigated policies that use violence in pursuit of political objectives,” Saikal said. “This has turned our country into a theatre of proxy war for others and has provided a comfort zone within which terrorists and violent extremist groups operate at national, regional, and international levels. Targeting the promoters and drivers of such policies within the state structures through specific reform programs, especially in the security apparatus, as well as travel and financial sanctions would certainly make the world safer.”

He added that he hoped the tightening of sanctions against terrorist also “will further tighten the noose on the activities of AI-Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban.”

The Council passed a resolution asking all nations to freeze the assets of the Taliban and people associated with it who have been identified by the committee to administer sanctions. It also said countries should prevent the entry or transit of those on the sanctions list.

In his speech to the Council, Bishnoi reiterated the demand for Afghanistan to be allowed commercial transit access to regional markets. “Aghanistan will be able to achieve its optimal economic potential only if it is allowed freedom of transit to major markets in South Asia,a¿ he said. “We have also formally indicated our willingness to join the Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement.”

India is also working with Afghanistan and Iran to develop another trade transit route, Bishnoi said.. “Participation in development of the Chahbahar Port will augment our connectivity with Afghanistan and beyond.” The Chahbahar port that India is developing in Iran will link to a system of highways that India is constructing in Afghanistan connecting some main cities, giving the nation a sea outlet.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan referred to another regional project, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project. Construction began earlier this month on the 1,735-km pipeline that will bring gas from Turkmenistan to India. Saikal said it was among “great news for our people, our partners in the region, and around the world”.

“Regional connectivity would be the key to economic development of Afghanistan and the region,” Nabir Munir, the Pakistani Deputy Permanent Representative, said. “TAPI alone, for instance, create tens of thousands of jobs in Afghanistan.”

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