Slamming Pakistan for its support to various terror groups, Afghanistan said on Friday that the time has come for taking a “fundamental” decision that no country should be allowed to use terror as an instrument of foreign policy.
Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah said his country has a “serious challenge” in ties with Pakistan and that terror networks based in that country continue to indulge in activities to destabilise Afghanistan.
“The forces of darkness and evil cannot prevail forever. But at the same time they can create hindrances, they can create headaches. These are the realities of life,” Abdullah said, in an address at the Indian Council for World Affairs, a leading think tank.
“We have some serious challenges in our relations with Pakistan. There are (terror) groups which are threatening security of Afghanistan and based there and continue to be based there…That is a very serious challenge for us. That is a big challenge for the whole region,” said Afghan chief executive.
He said a decision must be taken once and for all that terrorism will not be used as an instrument of pursuing foreign policy objectives in any part of the world.
That is the “fundamental decision” that has to be taken for the region and beyond, he said, asserting that the global community must show the resolve in the determination to deal with terror.
Talking about the peace process, he said the Afghan government has never closed its doors for talks and negotiations, and it was working to bring lasting peace to the country.
Speaking at the event, foreign secretary S Jaishankar articulated various facets of India’s engagement with Afghanistan and said New Delhi remains steadfast in its commitment towards the country.
The Afghan CEO also hailed India’s contribution towards Afghanistan’s reconstruction and said the assistance is making a huge difference to the lives of millions of people in his country.
He also mentioned that 116 new development projects were to be implemented by India and particularly talked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “passion” to help his country.
Identifying terrorism as the main threat facing the region, Abdullah said there cannot be any classification of terror groups as “good or bad terrorists”.
Referring to Pakistan, he said living in denial from the reality will complicate the situation.
“We have some serious challenges in our relations with Pakistan. There are (terror) groups which are threatening security of Afghanistan and based there and continue to be based there…That is a very serious challenge for us. That is a big challenge for the whole region,” said Abdullah.
Talking about Afghanistan’s diplomatic engagements and its ties with Pakistan, the Afghan chief executive, at the same time, said his country will not allow any country to dictate terms over its foreign policy.
“No country has the right of veto over our relationship” with another country, he said.
“If India comes to Afghanistan and says, ‘we will build you this clinic but please do not have friendship with Pakistan’, our answer would be the same,” he said, giving an example.
The Afghan chief executive said the response would be same in case of the US or Iran, which are close friends of Afghanistan.
Abdullah also welcomed the policy announcements by the Trump administration for Afghanistan and the South Asian region, indicating that there is a message in it for Islamabad. He said the policy reflects a rightful role for India in the region.
“I want to tell that Afghanistan wants friendly relations with all countries. The terror groups are threat to all of us and not just Afghanistan,” he said, adding that some of the terror groups had turned against those who created them.
On Afghanistan’s ties with China, Abdullah said the relationship has been good.
Referring to the delay in his arrival in New Delhi following the terror attack in Kabul airport, he said a tiny minority of terrorists are trying to disturb the opportunities the people of the region have.
“They could cause us some delay. But they cannot stop us. That is my message,” Abdullah, who arrived here on a six-day visit on Thursday, said.
He also exuded confidence that the region will be able to overcome the challenge of terrorism and radicalisation.
“I do not have any doubt in my mind. Wisdom will prevail. Human dignity will prevail. Acts of terror will be condemned and it will be condemned to failure,” he said.
Talking about importance of connectivity, Abdullah said work is going on a number of transport projects.
The Chabahar port project will significantly enhance trade among India, Afghanistan and Iran, he noted. Abdullah said that Afghanistan will receive the first shipment of wheat through Chabahar in a few days time.
Asked whether the Afghan government had taken up with Pakistan the issue of overland transit facility from Afghanistan to India through Pakistan, he said the matter has been discussed with Islamabad.