Afghan president says Afghanistan wants to stop ‘blame game’ and create a trust environment with Pakistan
Says Pakistan ‘is a necessary partner in restarting peace talks aimed at ending Afghanistan’s long war’
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said the biggest achievement at the Heart of Asia Conference was that Pakistan finally agreed to act against groups that don’t want to lay down arms.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Ghani said Afghanistan wanted to stop the ‘blame game’ and create a trust environment with Pakistan. However, he added, “We should be cautiously hopeful.”
Ghani said the Afghan side raised the issue of militants and made it clear that practical steps needed to be taken against them.
Referring to ties with Islamabad, President Ghani said the governments’ relations were not about trust but about interests and benefits. “We should choose a moderate level in our relations with other countries.”
Ghani said this week’s Heart of Asia summit tried to create consensus and that he made practical promises. “We are trying to change Afghanistan into the Heart of Asia in real, by connecting it to all regional countries. We had meetings with world leaders on the sidelines of Heart of Asia Conference.”
He said terrorism was not just a threat to Afghanistan but to the entire region and the world. He stated that the international community had ‘accepted our perception about terrorism’. He said the world should know that Afghanistan had not equipped, financed, grown or trained terrorists.
“Afghans want world powers to work with Afghanistan in order to find solutions for its problems. We want to overcome the problem of interference in Afghan affairs,” he added.
On the issue of peace with the Taliban, he said, “We will embrace those who want peace, but we will fight those who work for others. This is our clear message.”
In response to a query, Ghani said, “Taliban is made up of several groups. Now is the time for the group to embrace peace. It will not take years, it will take only weeks.”
He said both the US and China had promised to provide long-term support for Afghanistan’s peace. “As I did in Islamabad, I once again thank the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) for their courage and resistance,” he added.
Ghani said, “We want to thank our ‘real friends’ who helped us in NATO’s formation.” In addition he said work on the TAPI pipeline project would commence soon. He said that Afghanistan had been embroiled in an undeclared war for the past 14 years.
According to Ghani this past year had been one fraught with problems. “We made lots of sacrifices,” he said. He said no country had sacrificed for Islam as much as Afghanistan had. “Our people want improvements and development.”
He said the sacrifices made by Afghan forces were raised at the conference and security forces were thanked for their efforts.
“We passed through several phases. Our main goal is that what happened this year should not happen next year,” he added.
He also said the respect and trust which was given to the Afghan delegation and the president was not only for them but for victims of ANSF.
On the resignation of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief Rahmatullah Nabil, he said Nabil’s resignation changed the agency’s structure but it was a common phenomenon. He rejected speculation and rumors about Nabil’s resignation, saying, “NDS is non-political. I have not politically used NDS.” He said Nabil did a lot to improve information technology within NDS.
He mentioned that Afghans’ sacrifices and Afghanistan’s sovereignty should not be undermined. He said the real enemy of Afghanistan was poverty. “Ask every youth and he will want a job and a good economy,” concluded the president.