In statement responding to Ashraf Ghani’s accusations, Foreign Office urges Kabul to address bilateral issues through available forums
Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Monday urged Afghanistan to utilize available forums to address bilateral issues, stressing that “groundless accusations”—as conveyed in a recently published interview of President Ashraf Ghani—only serve to erode trust between “brotherly countries.”
“Pakistan has conveyed its serious concerns to the Afghan side by making a strong demarche with the ambassador of Afghanistan in Islamabad on the recent irresponsible statements and baseless allegations made by the Afghan leadership,” read a statement issued by spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. He stressed that such “groundless accusations erode trust and vitiate the environment between the two brotherly countries and disregard constructive role being played by Pakistan in facilitating the Afghan peace process.”
The spokesman noted that Kabul had been urged to effectively utilize available forums, such as the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity, to address all bilateral issues.
The spokesman’s rejoinder comes in response to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani alleging to German publication Der Spiegel that Pakistan “operated an organized system of support” for the Afghan Taliban and the insurgents received “logistics there [in Pakistan], their finances are there and recruitment is there.” Referring to the decision-making bodies of the Taliban, Ghani claimed they were named after the Pakistani cities where they were based—the “Quetta” shura; “Miramshah” shura; and the “Peshawar” shura. “There is a deep relationship with the state,” he added.
During the interview, the Afghan president claimed the peace process could not succeed if Pakistan were not on board. “The U.S. now plays only a minor role. The question of peace or hostility is now in Pakistani hands,” he claimed, adding that Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa had assured him that the restoration of Taliban’s Emirate was not in anyone’s interest. “However, he said, some of the lower levels in the Army still hold the opposite opinion in certain cases. It is primarily a question of political will,” he said.
Ghani claimed the West could contribute to the peace process by incentivizing or penalizing Pakistan—depending on its role. “They should introduce sanctions if the decision goes in a different direction than hoped. As Europeans, you should not see yourself as observers; you are a direct part of these events,” he said, adding that he did not wish for Pakistan to take on the role of the U.S. as a “protecting power” for Afghanistan. “We don’t want to be part of regional or international rivalries,” he added.