Pakistan waging undeclared war: Afghan president

Amritsar, Punjab, India Dec 04, 2016, 10.14 AM(IST)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Photograph:( Reuters )

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistan of launching an "undeclared war" on his country by supporting several terror networks including the Taliban. 

The Afghan president said that instead of donating large amounts of money to Afghanistan, the funds "could well be used to contain extremists" within Pakistan.

"We thank Pakistan for pledging $500 million towards reconstruction of Afghanistan.

"This fund Mr Aziz could very well be used to contain extremists because without peace any amount of assistance will not meet the needs of our people," he told the Heart of Asia conference aimed at getting regional players together to help stabilise his country.

Pakistan foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz, among representatives of 30 countries who attended the conference, said it was true that there had been an upsurge in violence in Afghanistan but it doesn't help "blaming one country".

Afghanistan blames Pakistan

Ghani also asserted military operations in Pakistan have only brought about selective displacement of terrorists.

Ghani also called for the state-sponsored sanctuaries in Pakistan to be dismantled.

Last year, Afghanistan suffered the highest number of civilian casualties and military-related deaths in the world, Ghani said.

"This is unacceptable. Some still provide sanctuary for terrorists. As a Taliban figure said recently, if they had no sanctuary in Pakistan, they wouldn't last a month," he said.

Analysts say Pakistan has historically backed the Afghan Taliban to counter the influence of arch-rival India in the neighbourhood.

Slamming Pakistan's habit of denying cross-border terror attacks, the Afghan President called for setting up of international mechanism without "playing games", to find out who was benefiting from terror, extremism and other illicit activities.

Violence has spread around Afghanistan, with the Taliban increasingly conducting coordinated high profile attacks in the capital Kabul. This has put pressure on Ghani's western-backed government to provide better security to a war-weary people.

He said despite Afghanistan's bilateral and multilateral ties with Pakistan, the "undeclared war" that started in winter of 2014, had intensified after the recent Brussels conference on Afghanistan's transition.

"There should be an Asian or international regime, whatever is acceptable to Pakistan, should be put in place to verify frontier activities and terrorist operations."

He also called for the setting up of a global fund to contain terrorism.

"We do not want blame game, we want verification," he said. "We need to set up a fund to combat extremism."

The Afghan president lauded India's role in Afghanistan's transition and said that there were no hidden deals in India's growing engagement in the war-ravaged country.

"India's assistance is transparent and with no strings attached, the Afghani president said. "There are no hidden deals between India and Afghanistan," he said, adding an air corridor between India and Afghanistan will be soon launched to deepen trade ties.

Ghani, who visited Amritsar's iconic Golden temple last evening with Modi, said the city used to be a centre of commerce and business which connected India to Central Asia, Russia and beyond.

He said there were spontaneous celebrations all over Afghanistan following the inauguration of Salma Dam by Modi and him in Aghanistan's Herat province in June.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said regional players had to act against not only the militants but their sponsors. "It must be backed by resolute action. Not just against forces of terrorism, but also against those who support, shelter, train and finance them."

(WION with inputs from PTI and Reuters)