UNITED NATIONS, Dec 22 (APP): Pakistan has pledged its full support to Afghanistan in improving the deteriorating security situation there, a senior Pakistani diplomat told the U.N. Security Council, while stressing that it was Afghan themselves who must “put their house in order”.

“Peace in Afghanistan was vital for peace in the region and beyond,” Nabeel Munir, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the U.N., said in a debate on the situation in Afghanistan on Monday.

There was clear consensus that use of force alone might not achieve peace, he said.

Robust and meaningful reconciliation, if seriously pursued, was the only way to achieve that goal.

It was in that spirit that Pakistan had facilitated direct talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban, and Islamabad stood ready to play that role again.

“No one should cast aspersions on Pakistan’s sincerity,” Munir said in an apparent reference to some negative remarks from the representative of Afghanistan.

After Afghanistan, he said, Pakistan and its people have suffered the most from the 35 years of wars, violence and terrorism in Afghanistan. “Pakistan is the primary victim of terrorism.”

Munir said Pakistan had targeted all terrorist groups and made substantial progress in cleansing itself of their activities.  However, those objectives would not be fully accomplished until the sanctuaries and safe havens of the terrorists who fled Pakistan’s military operations to Afghanistan were eliminated.

“We cannot allow targeting of our people by cross border attacks launched from these safe havens,” the Pakistani diplomat said. When Pakistan had carried out counter-terrorism efforts in North Waziristan, it had requested help from Kabul, but that cooperation was still missing.

“We cannot do diplomacy through statements,” he said, adding that differences must be resolved through dialogue.  At the Heart of Asia-Istanbul process conference, the Islamabad Declaration had paved the way for a peaceful region, Munir told the 15-member council.

Among other things, it committed parties to return Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity.

Pakistan was considering an extension of the Tripartite Agreement with a clear road map.

The building of the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India Pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs in Afghanistan, representing the kind of activities that should be the region’s focus, he said.

“We sincerely hope that working together the two countries would, fulfilling the expectations of their people, cooperate closely to defeat all terrorists and establish lasting peace in the region.”