China`s special envoy to Afghanistan praises Pakistan, ISI

China`s new special envoy to Afghanistan on Monday gave a clean chit to Pakistan and its powerful spy agency ISI amid allegations that they backed terrorist outfits.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 21, 2014, 21:46 PM IST

Beijing: China`s new special envoy to Afghanistan on Monday gave a clean chit to Pakistan and its powerful spy agency ISI amid allegations that they backed terrorist outfits.

"The Pakistan government has done a lot of positive contribution to the fight against terrorism," Sun Yuxi told his first media conference here.

He was replying to a question about the allegations of involvement of Pakistan based groups Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in the attack on Indian Consulate in Herat in May and whether China will engage with Pakistan to bring such groups under control.

"I believe that in future the Pakistan government will play an important and positive role in the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan and fight terrorism together with the international community," said Sun, a former Chinese Ambassador to India who famously asserted China`s claims over Arunachal Pradesh in 2006 ahead of the then Chinese President Hu Jintao`s visit to New Delhi.

About allegations that ISI was behind the attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat, Sun said "I think as an agency for the government and for the military of Pakistan, the ISI has been effective in fighting against terrorism".

"As for the specific case I have not been following the developments for some time," he said.

"But I do believe that the Pakistan government or any responsible agency of Pakistan will only fight against terrorism instead of being involved with any terrorist groups," Sun, who was also previously worked as Ambassador in Afghanistan besides Italy and Poland, said.

Sun said he will be closely coordinating with India and Pakistan to bring about peaceful transition to Afghanistan as US and NATO troops set to withdraw from that volatile country by 2016.

"As a special envoy I will keep a close working relationship with my counterparts in Pakistan and India as to contribute to peace and to fight against terrorism in both countries," he said.

"I also want to tell my colleagues from India and Pakistan that both countries are making efforts so as to safeguard peace and stability in Afghanistan and helping its reconstruction," he said.
Asked whether any India-China joint projects being conducted in Afghanistan, Sun said though India and China are strategic partners, he is not aware of any joint projects.

But the two countries conducted separate projects like schools, roads and other infrastructure projects.

"In future I could work for more joint projects involving the two countries," he said.

Sun at the same time called for heavy crackdown against the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) which in recent past carried out massive terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and other parts of the China.

ETIM is a terrorist organisation is now the principle, direct and realistic terrorist threat facing China, he said.

The ETIM has received terrorist training from al Qaeda ad also identified as terrorist organisation by UN.

So the fight against ETIM is an integral part of the international efforts to fight against terrorism, he said.

"In the past in the fight against ETIM China has cooperated with Afghanistan. In the future we hope to work with all sides Afghanistan to strike a heavy blow on the ETIM to eradicate the terrorist force and safeguard world," he said, adding that over 1,000 people from Xinjiang which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) underwent training in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attack.

Sun, who will be leaving for Afghanistan tomorrow and later to Pakistan, said he is optimistic about stability of Afghanistan after US troops withdrawal.

"The fact that US and NATO troops are winding down this year speaks partly to the relative stability of Afghanistan," he said stating that nationwide reconciliation can only bring about stability in that war-torn country.

Al Qaeda is a terrorist group and the international community should come together to fight it, he said without referring to Taliban.

He refuted allegations that China is pitching for commercial benefits like acquiring a copper mine saying Beijing acquired the mine at a dangerous place after US officials approached it to take over since Washington cannot run it due to security reasons.

In all China currently has projects worth about 1.6 billion RMB in Afghanistan, he said adding that Chinese investments would grow once political stability returned there.

About the current stalemate in Afghanistan over the presidential election, Sun said it will take long time for a new Afghan President to take over as auditing of votes require more time.

About US-China differences in Afghanistan, he said China supported US military intervention in Kabul after 9/11 to destroy al Qaeda bases.

China also welcomes US retaining some bases in Afghanistan to fight terrorism, he said.