KABUL – President Ashraf Ghani on Monday confirmed he will be attending the heart of Asia-Istanbul Process conference in Islamabad on Wednesday. Addressing a press conference in Kabul, Ghani said the summit is an Afghan conference, not a Pakistan conference.
He said Pakistan has been in an undeclared war with Afghanistan for 14 years now and that peace needs to be secured between the two countries.
Ghani said: “We have the right to raise our issues at all international forums, today the world has realized Afghanistan’s situation.”
This comes after Afghanistan’s CEO Abdullah Abdullah said earlier in the day that Ghani will attend the conference.
Speaking at his weekly Council of Ministers meeting, Abdullah said government hopes the summit will yield results.
Pakistan media also reported early Monday that an Afghan security team arrived in Islamabad on Sunday to prepare the ground for a possible visit of President Ashraf Ghani to Pakistan.
Media reports quoting official sources stated an 11-member Afghan team, including deputy chief of presidential protocol Bilal Ahmadzai, discussed arrangements for Ghani’s visit with Pakistani officials at the foreign ministry.
The US Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Richard Olson, met President Ghani in Kabul on Sunday and later said the Islamabad conference would provide an opportunity to Afghanistan and Pakistan to ease tensions and work together to combat terrorism.
“We think this is an excellent opportunity for Afghanistan to play a lead role in developing regional cooperation, particularly in the field of counterterrorism,” Olson said in Kabul during his first visit as the US special envoy.
“Stability in this region is crucial and the upcoming Heart of Asia ministerial (conference) is an example of efforts to deepen regional integration to lead to greater peace, security and economic growth in the area,” he said. -Tolonews
THE PASHTUN TIMES