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Afghan President: Pakistan’s Best Interest Lies with Afghan Government | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Kabul- President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani stressed that all the Afghani people want national reconciliation — for this reason, Taliban should split up from all terrorist extremist groups.

Ghani hailed relations with Saudi Arabia, during an interview with Asharq al-Awsat, describing them as strong and essential. He added that Afghanistan is cooperating with all Islamic countries, on top of them Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Speaking of relations with Pakistan, he affirmed that the best interest of Pakistan lies with the Afghani government – he also added that the deal with Gulbadin Hekmatyar is going well, noting that he doesn’t know his location.

Asharq al-Awsat newspaper asked Ghani, “Negotiations with Taliban reached a deadlock, what role do you expect Saudi Arabia to play?”

The Afghan president reiterated the importance of Taliban separating itself from terrorist groups that represent a threat to Islamic nations and the world as well. “We hope that Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, exert pressure on extremist leaders to push them toward reconciliation,” he added.

“What achievements were made by the national unity government during these two years?” Asharq al-Awsat asked.

“We can talk about four titles: on the political level, authority was moved from the elected president to the newly elected one in a peaceful way for the first time in Afghanistan’s history… The second point is the security transition since there were 150,000 soldiers from foreign forces on the Afghani territory before having a president and now there are only 12,000,” he said.

Ghani continued: “We were facing a serious economic crisis… In 2014, our economic level deteriorated but we succeeded in recovering—the fourth point is the administrative corruption that we have worked on putting an end to it.”

When asked to evaluate the danger of ISIS on Afghanistan’s future, he said that the threat extends to the whole region. “Unfortunately, when you look at the history of these groups you see that each their lifespan is on average between 20 to 40 years and we need a minimum of 20 years to stop them,” Ghani continued.

“Are you concerned regarding foreign interventions in Afghanistan’s internal affairs?” asked the newspaper.

“Millions of Afghans resorted to neighboring countries at the beginning of the crisis and some moved to different cities in Afghanistan. By the end of 2016, one million Afghans returned to their countries and we welcomed them,” Ghani replied.

He continued, “Unfortunately, some countries differentiate between a good and a bad terrorist – those who conduct operations outside their countries are good terrorists and vice versa.”

On the economy level, Ghani said that it won’t take long until Afghanistan becomes self-reliant, especially that it enjoys plenty of resources… “We have 29 rivers in Afghanistan – all what we need is good management of these rivers,” he added.

Afghanistan’s president also said that there are wide swathes of land that can be used in agriculture, and then later on crops can be exported to Gulf and other countries in a way that achieves economic security.

Rula Ghani, the current First Lady of Afghanistan and wife of the incumbent President of Afghanistan, praised the fact that the Afghan women have reached some goals and achieved what they deserve, not to mention their engagement in the economic, social and political fields.