Leaders of the Quad countries – the US, India, Australia and Japan – have denounced the use of “terrorist proxies” in South Asia, in a veiled reference to Pakistan, as they emphasised the importance of denying any support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terror attacks, including cross-border attacks.
In a joint statement issued after their first in-person Quad summit at the White House on Friday, US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison said they will closely coordinate their diplomatic, economic and human-rights policies towards Afghanistan and will deepen their counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation in South Asia.
“We denounce the use of terrorist proxies and emphasised the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terror attacks, including cross-border attacks,” the joint statement said.
The Quad leaders reaffirm that the Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts. They also reiterate the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan.
“We stand together in support of Afghan nationals, and call on the Taliban to provide safe passage to any person wishing to leave Afghanistan, and to ensure that the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and minorities are respected,” the joint statement said.
Pakistan’s neighbours, including Afghanistan, and the US have long called out Islamabad for providing safe haven and support to terrorists, several of them proscribed and designated global terrorists by the United Nations.
Prime Minister Morrison later told reporters that their discussions around security began with Afghanistan, and particularly focusing on how they can continue to help people who wish to leave Afghanistan, and become part of their humanitarian programmes and holding the Taliban to account to ensure that they can leave safely.
PM Modi was the first leader invited by host President Joe Biden to address the first in-person Quad gathering in the East Room of the White House.