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Afghanistan President: We Want Peace, not War with Pakistan | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani addresses the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Riyadh – Five months have gone and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani still awaits promises of Pakistan to end destruction in his country.

People and government of Afghanistan still accuse Pakistan of terrorism and supporting Taliban’s terrorist members.

President Ghani came to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the Arab-Islamic-US summit and ask Arab and Islamic states to intervene and put an end to bloodshed, especially that several ISIS terrorists and al-Qaeda commanders were captured on Afghani-Pakistani border. He added that many terrorists reside in Pakistan and are working on collecting funds.

During his interview with Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Ghani rarely smiled until he mentioned that over million Afghani citizens began returning to their country from Pakistan and Iran. He added that people of Afghanistan began to expel terrorists of al-Qaeda and ISIS outside districts.

When asked about the Arab-Islamic-US summit, the Afghan President described it as a transitional point against extremism.

“This summit is the first major step towards regaining the glory of Islam as an international civilization based on science, peace, and tolerance. We are the lawful leaders of the Islamic world and we have the conviction and courage to express the aspirations and values of our people,” said Ghani.

He added that after the summit, the West realized that Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Arab and Islamic leaders defend the moderate Islam against extremism.

Ghani stressed that the minority of extremists can’t represent the billion and a half Muslims, adding that the leaders along with US President Donald Trump are adamant to devote their sources and energy to eradicate the dangers and ensure that all Muslims are together in the face of political extremism and terrorism.

The President also explained that the attendees at the summit agreed to the funding and support of extremism in the Islamic world.

King Salman and President Trump also inaugurated Eatedal center, international cooperation center to combat extremism.

The president said that it is crucial to determine a unified definition of terrorism and standards that assign which countries support terrorism. He further stressed the importance of creating a mechanism and team work to track and halt terrorism funding.

Both King Salman and President Trump spoke of the role of Iran in supporting terrorism during the summit, Ghani stated that it is not only limited to Iran. Afghanistan had repeatedly complained that Pakistan supports and funds terrorism.

He explained that the main issue here is that a war has already begun and it is not media war, adding that Pakistan is unaware of that issue.

“We want peace between the two countries, not war,” insisted the president.

When asked if Pakistan indeed supports terrorist groups, Ghani asked about the location where former leader of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden died. He also mentioned the terrorist attack in Mazar-i-Sharif Mosque attacking 140 Afghani soldiers. He stated that the soldiers were praying and unarmed and Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Taliban is settled in Pakistan and are gathering money,” added the president.

He said that being on the front lines with Pakistan, Afghanistan made many sacrifices as well as the NATO. He expressed his hope that Arab-Islamic-US Summit would result in a strong support for Afghanistan to ensure its stability.

Ghani stressed that his country is prepared to terminate terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Qaeda and affiliated groups.

When asked if Taliban hides behind religion, Ghani believes that sadly that is the situation, but Custodian of Two Holy Mosques stated that we should differentiate between Islam and that who use the religion for other purposes.

He added that Taliban’s presence in the area makes it easier for the organization to execute terrorist attacks just like Qaeda and ISIS.

What is important is that Pakistan and Taliban realize that Arab and Islamic countries and the US have reached a point where they distinguish a Muslim from a terrorist.

Regarding the terrorist attack that killed the ambassador of UAE and others in Kandahar, President Ghani hoped Pakistan would provide names of persons involved in that operation.

Concerning the national reconciliation between the government and Taliban, the president admitted that it succeeded in three points: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar returned and accepted the Afghani laws, over a million Afghani citizens returned to their country from Pakistan and Iran, and people of Afghanistan began fighting terrorist organizations in districts.

President Ghani addressed Taliban saying if they choose to make peace, they will achieve what they want through politics and law. He hoped Taliban would distance itself from terrorists.

“We will prevail because we speak of cooperation, civilization, dialogue and hope in face of fear, destruction, and hatred,” explained the president adding that joint understanding and coherent policies are required to reach the goal.

He reiterated that the Afghani constitution grants every citizen their rights and, as a president of the republic, his duty is to prevent bloodshed.

Ghani added that during his stay in Riyadh, he met with US officials and discussed the strategic relations between the two countries. He also met on Wednesday with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

The president welcomed Saudi Arabia’s role in the national reconciliation between the government and Taliban.