Kabul, Afghanistan : “Pakistan still remains a venue and ground for gatherings from which mercenaries send us messages of war”, politely fumed Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani while addressing a press gathering at Kabul on Monday. This came in after the recent suicide car bombing earlier in the day near Kabul International Airport, killing 5 people and adding to the chain of deadly terrorist Taliban-sponsored attacks in the capital of Afghanistan. Ghani stated that the recent series of attacks in Kabul and other provinces show that the war has changed shape. The enemy who was fighting to gain some territory and to claim a victory has now had its backbone broken. It is so desperate now that it has turned to cowardly attacks against innocent people just to weaken people’s morale.The incidents of the past two months in general and the recent days in particular show that the suicide training camps and the bomb making facilities targetting and murdering innocent Afghan people still operate, as in the past, in Pakistan. Just as the incident in Peshawar and the killing of hundreds of innocent children in a school became a turning point in Pakistan, the recent incidents in Kabul and other provinces are no less and is a turning point for Afghanistan. President Ghani paid heartfelt tributes and prayers to all those killed in the recent terrorist attacks and gave condolences to their families and wished quick recovery for all those injured.
Expressing deep concern over restoration of peace and harmony in and around Afghanistan, Ghani said that over the last few days, Afghanistan has witnessed significant changes in war methods against Afghans. The peace process is facing new questions. and the country needs to know where the Afghanistan-Pakistan relations are heading.
Ghani said that the withdrawal of over 100,000 highly equipped international military forces plus the transfer to Afghan forces of the entire responsibility to counter threats was a development that was not unforeseeable. International observers had predicted that Afghanistan may not be able to deal with this new situation even for a few days.Ghani revisited the earlier anticipation which had predicted that the situation in and around Afghan had given signals that this year would be the most difficult of all since the Bonn process. The reason being, enemies waiting for a power vacuum so they could take advantage of and see the government collapse.
Expressing relief over the falsification of such earlier claims, Ghani said that none of the gloomy predictions turned to reality. The enemies were disappointed. Afghan defense and security forces quickly filled in the gap left behind by the international forces and defeated the enemies on all fronts. Ghani expressed his deepest gratitude to the brave sons and daughters in Afghan uniform for all the sacrifices they are making.
Speaking on terrorism, Ghani’s political messaging stressed on the recent significant development about Mullah Omar not being alive, this news Ghani mentioned, was an Intel from the Afghanistan intelligence agencies which confirmed the death of Mullah Omar and exposed the lies and fabrications. This confirmation not only demonstrated the strength and maturity of Afghan intelligence, but also reaffirmed the fact that the war in Afghanistan is fought for and by others and that the so-called Amir-ul-Momenin, who apparently led and commanded the war, might not have even existed.
Ghani spoke emphatically on terrorism. He said that Terrorism is a vast and a widespread concern. The terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and other Muslim countries are of the same nature. These attacks pursue to collapse states and state system in the region. Appreciating the rejection of such attacks, Ghani praised the grand gathering of Muslim scholars in the city of Makkah for condemning these attacks. As reaffirmed in the Shanghai Summit in Russia earlier, Ghani again reiterated that Afghanistan will continue to make every effort to overcome to build a regional consensus for effective cooperation against terrorism.
Emphasizing on Pakistan’s dual-messaging syndrome, Ghani threw light on his day-old conversation with Pakistan’s Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff, Ghani made it clear that the government of Pakistan should have the same definition of terrorism in regard to Afghanistan, just as it has for its own. Recalling his previous visit to Pakistan last November, Ghani reminded that Afghanistan and Pakistan both had affirmed full commitment for peace and Afghan side had made it clear that peace had two aspects – peace with Pakistan and peace with Taliban.Even now, Ghani said that he discussed the common opportunities and threats and made it very clear to the Pakistani side that a new window of opportunity has opened. Ghani detailed what he meant by this, when he said that depending on the capacity and the will of the Pakistani leadership, it is upon that side to change the window into a door and then to an alley and even a highway, or mess around with attacks on innocent lives and shut the opportunity door all together.
Over the past ten months, Afghanis have shown commitment and the will by sharing intelligence with the Pakistani side so that both could carry out a comprehensive and targeted anti-terrorism campaign to rid both nations of violence. But Ghani fretted at the inability of Pakistani side to demonstrate its will through action.The decisions that Pakistani government will be making in the next few weeks will be significant for the bilateral relations in coming decades he added, pointing out that the security of Afghan people and the national interests of Afghanistan would be the basis of relationship with Pakistan. “We can no longer tolerate to see our people bleeding in a war exported and imposed on us from outside” he added.
“We hoped for peace, but war is declared against us from Pakistani territory; this in fact puts into a display a clear hostility against a neighboring country. I ask the government and people of Pakistan to imagine that a terrorist attack just like the one in Kabul’s Shah Shahid area took place in Islamabad and the groups behind it had sanctuaries in Afghanistan and ran offices and training centers in our big cities, what would have been your reaction? Will you have looked at us as friends or enemies? I would like to call on those Taliban who do not want their country destroyed and their people killed, to quit the ranks of criminals and insurgents and to reintegrate into their society. Today, the resources that should have been spent on building factories, hospitals and on other development projects are spent for defense and fighting a war exported to us by others” stated Afghanistan President.
He further went on to add that the people of Afghanistan are all Muslims, so Islam is not the issue in this war. The political system in Afghanistan is based on the religion of Islam, and all the research shows that the Constitution of Afghanistan compared to those in the neighborhood, is enriched with Islamic values and ideas. Islamic scholars believe that having a system, even weak and rife with defects, is a lot better than not having a system at all. Islam is a religion of peace and stability. According to Islamic Sharia, anyone engaged in acts to destabilize and wreck security in a society and kill Muslims, is described as insurgent and warmonger.The main question is how can those who claim to have been acting on Sharia can be this careless to the massacre of the innocent people? What would be their response to Aya 32, Sora Almaida of the Holy Quran which says, “Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely”?
Ghani use stern words and stated that there will be no flexibility of any kind with the criminals. We have directed the courts and the judicial authorities to show no leniency with those who have our people’s blood on their hand and those who respond the peace call with war and criminality will undoubtedly receive maximum punishment. Whoever is engaged in criminality, narcotics, and atrocities, and whoever works for the outsiders to destroy Afghanistan is the enemy of peace. Such people fear peace, they fear rule of law and fear a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. Experience has shown that whenever there is a chance for peace, enemies are irritated and resort to violence and brutality. However, such acts cannot deter Afghanistan from its quest for peace and completely rules out out the option of giving warmongers any concessions. Peace will be traded with only with those who believe in the meaning of being a human, Muslim and Afghan and who do not destroy their own country on order from foreign masters, warned Ghani.
Ghani called upon the country’s politicians to do their utmost to keep Afghanistan together at this critical juncture and to refrain from any actions that spread suspicions and disunity from which enemy may benefit.
Praising the youth power of Afghan, Ghani said that Afghan youth are more willing today than ever to join the ranks of their country’s armed forces. Consistent to the demand, the forces have increased recruitment volume up to 9 percent.
On a concluding note, Ghani again brought the focus back on Pakistan. He reiterated that relation between Pakistan and Afghanistan is based on national interests, on top of which comes security and safety of Afghani people. He end up his address by saying this to Pakistan – “If country’s people continue to be killed, relations lose meaning.”