Afghanistan blasts Pakistan's role in peace process

In apparent policy shift, Kabul ‘will no longer call on Pakistan to bring Taliban to negotiating table’, Afghan president declares

Afghanistan blasts Pakistan's role in peace process

World Bulletin / News Desk

Under pressure at home for being "too soft" on Pakistan despite Islamabad’s alleged support for terrorism in Afghanistan, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said Monday that he no longer had any confidence in Pakistan’s ability to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

A brazen militant attack rocked capital Kabul last week, which claimed dozens of lives and left over 300 injured.

The attack, which occurred near the Interior Ministry, resulted in Ghani’s power-sharing chief executive cancelling a planned trip to Pakistan and to the security organs pointing fingers -- once again -- at Islamabad.

Pressures that came in the wake of the attack -- which was claimed by the Haqqani Network, believed by some to have close ties with Pakistan’s powerful army -- prompted Ghani to call a joint session of parliament on Monday.

Addressing the assembly, the president said Kabul now demanded that Islamabad eliminate terrorists, who, he said, were bent on Afghanistan’s destruction.

He went on to say that if Pakistan continued to provide safe heaven to terrorists, Afghanistan would take the issue before the UN Security Council.

The Afghan government and its western allies have long suspected Pakistan of harbouring the militant Haqqani Network, along with the Taliban’s influential Queeta and Peshawar shura councils.

In stark contrast to his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, Ghani, since taking office over one year ago, has adopted a policy of appeasement vis-à-vis Pakistan. He has close contacts with the Pakistani political leadership in Islamabad and the Pakistani army leadership in Rawalpindi.

This policy has led to frequent criticisms of Ghani by both the public and his political opponents -- particularly those associated with former President Karzai.

In a speech delivered Monday, Ghani declared that he had spared no efforts to peacefully end the violence in the country.

He added, however, that there are "no good or bad terrorists, just terrorists," and that "Pakistan must understand this and act against them".

The Afghan government, he asserted, "will no longer call on Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table" despite having relied on it to do so in the past.

Defence analyst Jawed Kohistani, for his part, said Ghani’s soft stance on Pakistan had hurt his standing.

"Public expectations were very high that he [Ghani] would take a bold stance and expose Pakistani meddling in Afghan affairs instead of wasting time on peace talks with the Taliban," he said.

Kohistani told Anadolu Agency that Ghani’s latest remarks were "not clear enough" in regard to Afghan policy vis-à-vis Pakistan.

Gen. Ghaffar Khan, a strategic affairs expert, however, described the president’s remarks as "positive".

He noted that popular support for the Afghan security forces were currently at an all-time high and would be further bolstered by Ghani’s seeming policy reversal.

Earlier this year, after the fourth meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) -- comprised of the U.S., China, Pakistan and Afghanistan -- the Taliban were asked to engage in direct peace talks with Kabul in Islamabad.

Despite the invitation, however, the Taliban launched its annual spring offensive with the stated aim of consolidating its military position in Afghanistan.

Notably, Ghani’s latest remarks were made one day after an Afghan Border Police (ABP) post in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province came under fire by the Pakistani military.

According to Afghan officials, one border policeman was killed in the attack.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Nisan 2016, 14:33