An ‘Undeclared War’ with no Winners? Ghani on Why Neither Afghanistan Nor Pakistan are Benefiting from Violence

President Ashraf Ghani spoke about the dynamics of Afghanistan-Pakistan relations while he addressed an audience in Washington through a video conference on Monday. Below are some notable excerpts from his remarks.

End the Undeclared War

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said that the “undeclared war” between Afghanistan and Pakistan must end while expressing that Pakistan must cooperate in direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

While addressing Washington audience through a video conference from Kabul on Monday, he said “The undeclared war between Afghanistan and Pakistan must end. “

Afghan Soil Doesn’t Source Movements Against Pakistan

“We have not supported any movement against Pakistan from Afghanistan. The Afghan soil is not being used. We’ve exercised immense restraint and control because we seek a cooperative relationship,” Ghani said in response to a question at the School of Advanced international Studies of the John Hopkins University on Monday.

Ghani also said that Afghanistan and Pakistan need mutually and collectively agree with the US and the rest of the world community on counter-terrorism. “From the day that President Donald Trump announced the South Asia strategy, I extended the hand of friendship. We have engaged in several rounds of discussion,” he said.

Defining the ‘Normal’, Demanding Sense of Urgency

On being asked what is a ‘normal’ relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan is, he clarified that Kabul can offer a for cooperation-“We are the key to Central Asia. How will Pakistan get to Central Asia without a stable Afghanistan?” he asked.

Ghani also believes that he has not seen a sense of “urgency” from the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding holding a dialogue with Afghanistan to fight terrorism-“We have not yet seen the sense of urgency. We hope that sense of urgency can be brought to the picture. We have a framework which is a Afghanistan-Pakistan agreement.
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The key is to move from talking to taking action,” Ghani said.

“Our national interest is to keep engaging with Pakistan. We seek a stable Pakistan. We need to see substantive and measurable change. As of now that substantive and measurable change with the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has not been seen. This is what needs to take place,” said the Afghan president.

Taliban not the Winner

President Ghani said that the Taliban is certainly not winning-“Let them disclose their casualties. Let them answer to the mothers who have lost their children. Let them answer to the wounded and let them answer to communities that because of their interference, have been deprived of education, of health, of services. Where is the positive model of the strength?” he said.

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