Peace with Pakistan is our national agenda: Ashraf Ghani


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in his Eidul Azha message, said peace with Pakistan was Afghanistan’s national agenda.

Like most Muslim countries, Afghanistan is celebrating Eid on Friday while in Pakistan it will be celebrated on Saturday.

Ghani on Friday reached out to Pakistan, offering “comprehensive negotiations” to bring peace to the troubled relationship between the two countries.

“We want peace which is based on unanimous political views,” the Afghan president said, adding that the world now knows that it is not possible to pressurise Afghanistan into doing anything.

In his address at the president house in Kabul, Ghani said the country was ready to take steps for regional peace and stability, based on logical debate and reasoning.

“I am reaching out for peace to everyone,” he said. “Because peace is God’s commandment.”

Ghani called on the Taliban, who have been fighting to drive out international forces backing the government, to accept peace.

“It is time for the armed opposition of Afghanistan to choose whether they are fed on the milk of the mothers of this country, and are inspired by this nation, or whether they are the tools for disunity, chaos, used by outsiders,” he said.

He added that peace negotiations were open for all but Afghanistan will not bow down before any group or country.

The statement from the Afghan president comes a day after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis ordered additional troops to the war-torn country, 10 days after President Donald Trump announced a surge in US forces to battle advances by the Taliban.

On August 21, Trump announced a new Afghanistan policy to knock back the Taliban that could see thousands more US troops deployed, on top of the 11,000 there now.

The decision came after a deep review of strategy in which US military leaders convinced Trump to back off his election campaign pledge to pull out of the war-torn country.

Afghanistan routinely accuses Pakistan of harbouring Taliban insurgents, while Islamabad says its enemies have found sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

The two countries also squabble relentlessly over the border that separates the two. Known as the Durand Line, Afghanistan refuses to accept it as the international border.

Firefights between the armies have broken out as Pakistan seeks to fence it.