“What will it take to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them and helps our region?”
KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani lashed out at Pakistan at the Kabul Process on Tuesday, alleging that it is waging an “undeclared war of aggression” against Afghanistan.
Issuing a stinging rebuke aimed towards Pakistan before a gathering of 23 nations, the European Union, the United Nations and Nato, Ghani asked: “What will it take to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them and helps our region?”
Ghani’s fresh criticism comes as the Kabul Process, a forum for the discussing security and political issues in the country, is underway.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have long accused each other of turning a blind eye to militants operating along their porous border, and both forces exchanged fire over a border dispute last month.
Ghani also issued an ultimatum to the Taliban, calling on the militants to embrace peace or “face consequences”.
“We are offering a chance for peace but this is not an open-ended offer. Time is running out… this is the last chance, take it or face consequences,” Ghani said at the international peace conference in Kabul.
“If Taliban wants to join peace talks, the Afghan government will allow them to open an office, but this is their last chance,” Ghani said.
Talking about the current situation of unrest in the country, the Afghan president said that last week’s Kabul truck bombing killed over 150 people, making it deadliest attack since 2001.
Speaking at the maiden meeting of the Kabul Process, the president told participants: “You are in a city whose people are mourning hundreds of their sons lost to terrorist violence.”
However, the president explained the Afghans were appreciative of the global fraternity’s support and demanded justice. These terrorist attacks were in fact a strong slap in the face of justice, Ghani commented.
Militants believe that war is a fundamental part of religion, but Islam is a religion of peace and those killed by the fighters are Muslims, Ghani said. He regretted the rebels were killing thousands of Muslim men, women and children and were involved in drug smuggling, terror and robberies.
The president blamed the terrorists for using Islam as a tool to achieve their nefarious designs. “Six days back, our 13 brave police members lost their lives when prevented a vehicle full of explosives from entering the diplomatic quarter in Kabul,” Ghani said.
The bomb that ripped the heart of Kabul clearly violated the Geneva Convention, he claimed, saying no diplomat had been killed but more 150 Afghans lost their lives and 350 others were wounded.
“Afghanistan is a target of international terrorism due to its location and impassable routes. Recent estimates show the number of foreign fighters surged from 200 to 11,000 in Afghanistan in the past two years,” the presided revealed.
Ghani said the international community was still unable to overcome all dimensions of terrorism. The UN had witness the growth of the menace, but the global response to the challenge had been slow and inadequate, he remarked.
He noted the level of cooperation had improved, but frameworks, tools and necessary measures for the identification and eradication of terrorist activities needed to be put in place.
The participants of the conference remained silent for a minute to pay respects to the victims of recent attacks in Kabul, London and other parts of the world.
Past attempts at peace talks have failed. The Taliban have refused to negotiate with the government until all foreign forces leave, and still refer to themselves as a government in exile, angering authorities in Kabul. -Agencies