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Ghani warns Pakistan of ‘heavy price’, reoffers dialogue

Ghani in NYWASHINGTON: President Ashraf Ghani has warned Pakistan of having to pay “a heavy price’ if the country did not avail his offer of a comprehensive dialogue.

“What I’m offering the Pakistan government, the Pakistan security apparatus, is the invitation to a comprehensive dialogue,” Ghani told CNN in an interview.  Afghans, he said, are determined to fight.

“No one should underestimate our wish for a secure region. Afghanistan is potentially one of the richest countries on earth, given our size and population, with our natural resources, mining, and potentially oil and gas, et cetera. But the cost of war is intense and immense,” Ghani said.

“If Pakistan does not take this opportunity, I think there will be — they will pay a high price. So I hope that it’s in their interest to engage,” said the Afghan President.

Responding to a question, Ghani claimed that the Taliban were becoming less and less popular. “It’s a sign of weakness to attack a mosque. It’s a sign of weakness, not strength, to kill people, soldiers who are praying.”

He said attacking civilians in broad daylight, blowing bombs, track bombs particularly, did not make the Taliban popular. “They need to understand that society does not support violence, particularly a society that has suffered 40 years of violence,” he said.

According to Ghani, Afghan forces are in the best position they’ve been in the last years. “Additionally, 100,000 American and international troops with hundreds of planes, helicopters, et cetera, were fighting, and between 2009 and 2014, they all left. We filled the gap,” he said.

“The strength is that the Afghan army, particularly the commando force, that are second to none in the region, are able to take every single location in the country.” -Pajhwok

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