Ghani says Afghanistan wants peace with Pakistan

  • Afghan president asks Pakistan to propose mechanism for dialogue for peace, prosperity
  • ‘Taliban must accept constitution, women rights and reject violence for meaningful talks’

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in a series of messages on Twitter following a regional peace summit in Kabul on Tuesday, criticised Pakistan’s alleged role in fomenting terror but also offered a path forward.

“I would be remiss to my people if I did not say that our top priority must go to finding an effective way to initiate dialogue with Pakistan,” said Ghani in one of dozens of tweets. He shared that Kabul has offered Pakistan a vision of prosperity, linking south and central Asia together through trade, investment and peaceful coexistence.

“And yet today, we suffer from an undeclared war of aggression. We will not get drawn into a blame game. We have tried [all sorts of negotiations] to bring an end to conflict and terror but Pakistan continues to host terrorist sanctuaries,” he said.

He said that Pakistan still believes that sponsoring terror was a controllable tool that can be switched on and off as part of the means to achieve goals. “This cannot continue. We will not let it continue. We want peace with Pakistan. We want to be able to trust Pakistan and we want the chance for friendly, cooperative relationships that will reduce poverty and promote growth on both sides of the frontier,” he said.

Ghani also said that their problem and challenge was that they cannot figure out what was it that Pakistan wants. “What will it take to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them?” Recognising Pakistan’s legitimate regional security interests, he said they have offered appropriate guarantees of neutrality and continue to make an unconstrained offer for a state-to-state peace dialogue.

“But we cannot, nor can any signatory to the UN Counter-Terrorism Convention, accept that terrorism or the hosting of terrorists who use military explosives and techniques to blow up our innocent young men and women, is or can ever be an acceptable tool of diplomacy,” he stated.

So we again call on the government of Pakistan to propose its agenda and a mechanism for that dialogue which can lead them to peace and prosperity, the Afghan president suggested. Addressing the Taliban, he listed acceptance of the constitution, continuity of reforms for educating and advancing the rights of women and a rejection of violence as the preconditions for negotiations with the militant militia.

“We’re offering a chance for peace but we must also be clear that this is not an open-ended opportunity,” he said, adding that Taliban-sponsored terrorism was creating a platform for global terrorists in Afghanistan. He said that the Taliban’s acts of violence meet UN standards of terrorism. He also stressed the need to build security alliances that “will let us face this common threat together.”

The world community signed a promise that terrorism would not be tolerated, state sponsorship of terrorism would not be tolerated, the Afghan leader reminded. “Today we are demanding that the world make good on this promise. The violence must be stopped and terror must end,” he said. “We have already said that we aim for peace, not for victory. But we cannot make peace if Taliban are not prepared to do the same,” he said.