Commanders reject Ghani’s allegations of interference

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Sophia Siddiqui

Rawalpindi

Corps Commanders’ at a special meeting at GHQ on Tuesday took strong exception to the unwarranted accusations and threats against Pakistan by Afghan authorities.
The meeting chaired by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa reviewed regional security environment in the backdrop of recent terrorist incidents in Afghanistan.
The Pakistan Army’s commanders met hours after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani lashed out at Pakistan at the Kabul Process on Tuesday, alleging that it is waging an “undeclared war of aggression” against Afghanistan.
Despite strained bilateral relations, Pakistan is participating in the multinational conference, having sent a two-member Pakistani delegation headed by Additional Secretary UN and Economic Cooperation Tasneem Aslam.
The corps commanders meeting stated that instead of blaming Pakistan, Afghanistan needs to look inward and identify the real issues.
The meeting also expressed solidarity with Afghan people and Security Forces on loss of precious lives and vowed to continue its support and cooperation with Afghanistan in fight against terrorism and militancy.
While reaffirming continued support to regional peace and stability, the corps commanders reiterated Pak Army’s resolve to defend the motherland against all types of threat.
Ghani blames Pakistan
AFP adds: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani lashed out at Pakistan at the Kabul Process on Tuesday, alleging that it is waging an “undeclared war of aggression” against Afghanistan.
Issuing a stinging rebuke aimed towards Pakistan before a gathering of 23 nations, the European Union, the United Nations and Nato, Ghani asked: “What will it take to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them and helps our region?”
Ghani’s fresh criticism comes as the Kabul Process, a forum for the discussing security and political issues in the country, is underway.
Despite strained bilateral relations, Pakistan is participating in the multinational conference, having sent a two-member Pakistani delegation headed by Additional Secretary UN and Economic Cooperation Tasneem Aslam.
Ghani also issued an ultimatum to the Taliban, calling on the militants to embrace peace or “face consequences”.
“We are offering a chance for peace but this is not an open-ended offer. Time is running out… this is the last chance, take it or face consequences,” Ghani said at the international peace conference in Kabul.
“If Taliban want to join peace talks, the Afghan government will allow them to open an office, but this is their last chance,” Ghani said.
Talking about the current situation of unrest in the country, the Afghan president said that last week’s Kabul truck bombing killed over 150 people, making it deadliest attack since 2001.
Past attempts at peace talks have failed. The Taliban have refused to negotiate with the government until all foreign forces leave, and still refer to themselves as a government in exile, angering authorities in Kabul.
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.
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 further.
“Pakistan still believes that sponsoring terror is a controllable tool that can be switched on and off as part of the means to achieve goals,” he claimed.
“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 warned.
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.
So we again call on the Government of Pakistan to propose its agenda and a mechanism for that dialogue which can lead us to peace and prosperity, the Afghan president suggested.
“It is time to get serious about peace, but nobody should ever assume that we will negotiate under duress or pressure,” he stated.
In his speech at the launch of the summit, Ghani explained that the purpose of the conference is to defeat terrorism and ensure peace. “Foreign fighters have increased in the last two years,” he said, adding that this is the last chance for the Taliban to become part of the national mainstream. Ghani also assured the Taliban that he will provide them space to open up an office for conducting peace negotiations.

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