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FO rubbishes US general's claim regarding Afghan Taliban presence in Pakistan

FO rubbishes US general's claim regarding Afghan Taliban presence in Pakistan

The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday rubbished United States (US) Gen John Nicholson's "unacceptable" claim that Washington is aware of the Afghan Taliban leadership's presence in Peshawar and Quetta, saying that terrorist safe havens are present in Afghanistan, not Pakistan.

FO Spokesman Nafees Zakaria told a weekly press briefing in Islamabad that there had been no high-level contact between Pakistan and the US following President Donald Trump's Aug 21 diatribe, in which he lambasted Islamabad for providing safe haven to terrorists.

He announced that a conference of ambassadors would be held between Sept 5-7 in order to discuss foreign policy challenges facing the region and the world.

Zakaria reiterated Pakistan's commitment to an Afghan-led peace process and asserted that Afghanistan's war could not be brought into Pakistan.

He said that a decision had been made regarding Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif's three-nation regional tour in light of the US policy based on sessions in the Upper and Lower Houses, and a National Security Committee meeting.

The FO spokesman also termed former ambassador to India Abdul Basit's letter to former foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry unfortunate, saying that the need of the hour was a focus on other important issues facing the country.

Zakaria condemned the mistreatment of minorities in India, and claimed that 8,000 cases of "forced disappearances" have emerged from India-held Kashmir.

He expressed serious concern over the "illegal detention" of Hurriyet leaders and condemned Indian atrocities in Kashmir.

Zakaria added that the issue of India financing terror and using Afghanistan against Pakistan had been raised with UN.

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