Arguing that it shares cultural, linguistic and ethnic commonalities with Afghanistan, Pakistan Foreign Minister has claimed that his country has more stake in the war-torn country than India.
"Obviously, their (India's) interests (in Afghanistan) cannot be the same as ours because we share a border," Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the popular Charlie Rose Show telecast on PBS news channel.
"They (India) do not share a border (with Afghanistan). We have been impacted (by the events in Afghanistan). They (India) have not been impacted to that extent, because even today we have three million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan," he argued, when asked how he measures India's interest in Afghanistan.
Noting that Afghanistan is a land-locked country, Qureshi said that bulk of their trade is carried through Pakistan. "Practically our economies are one. Culturally, linguistically, ethnically, there are commonalities which Afghanistan shares more with Pakistan than India."
Asked about the relationship between ISI and Taliban in Afghanistan, Qureshi said the Pakistani intelligence agency is no longer considered a friend of the outfit.
"The way the ISI has been operating, and the way the ISI is being targeted by Taliban is in front of you. Look at their casualties. Look at the number of people that have been injured in the last year-and-a-half directly -- you know, ISI operators.
"Look at the way their different officers have been attacked at Peshawar, in Lahore, in Multan. It is very obvious that our side is no longer considered to be a friend of theirs," he argued, referring to a series of attacks on the intelligence agency's facilities.
Praising the new Afghan policy of the Obama Administration, Qureshi said "the present strategy is a far better thought out strategy."
"It's wider, it's more comprehensive and it's not just stopping of the military option," he said.
"It engages the people; it talks of development; it talks of governance; it talks of building civilian structures and institutions, so it's a better strategy and I think we should give it time to work. But it has to be a very careful balance between engagement and the application of force."
Observing that Pakistan is now seriously fighting the Taliban within the country, the Foreign Minister said: "Our fight in Pakistan has had a very positive impact across the border in Afghanistan."
Recognising that there is a nexus between the Taliban and al-Qaeda, Qureshi said: "Our operations have curtailed the border crossings. Today, Taliban al-Qaeda and their associates are on the run."
Claiming that Pakistan is no longer considered a safe haven for terrorists, he said militants "are running away from Pakistan because they're seeing the seriousness, the resolve of the people and the armed forces."
Qureshi said Pakistan would catch elusive Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar, if it knew where he was.
He, however, said the Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders are on the run. "I can't take names. But many are trying to escape and go into places like Yemen, Somalia, whatever, other places, because Pakistan is no longer considered to be a safe place for them." PTI