President Ashraf Ghani at an international summit in Uzbekistan on Friday criticized Pakistan for what he called support to the Taliban, calling on the neighboring country to use its influence and leverage for peace and cessation of hostilities in Afghanistan.
“Intelligence estimates indicate the influx of over 10,000 jihadi fighters from Pakistan and other places in the last month, as well as, support from their affiliates and the transnational terrorist organizations,” President Ghani said at the summit named “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities.”
“Contrary to the repeated assurances by Prime Minister Khan and his generals that Pakistan does not find a Taliban take over in Afghanistan in Pakistan’s interest, and assured of its use of force will use its power to influence to make the Taliban negotiate seriously, networks and organizations supporting the Taliban are openly celebrating the destruction of assets and capabilities of the Afghan people and state,” he said.
President Ghani said that there is a consensus among credible international observers that the Taliban has not taken any steps to sever their relationship with terrorist organizations.
“Contrary to the declarations of their political office that they will not attack cities and provincial centers they are accelerating their attacks and attempting to starve the cities,” Ghani said, referring to recent attacks by Taliban.
“We are prepared to face the Taliban and their supporters for as long as it takes until they realize that a political solution is the only way forward,” he said. “We, therefore, call on the Taliban to engage with the government of Afghanistan to end the war and the destructive recent onslaught.”
Ghani asked the region for “sense of urgency,” adding, “Lessons learnt are clear. Without regional consensus, and support peace does not break out.”
“To plunge Afghanistan into all-out war is to plunge the region into radical uncertainty. Pakistan, therefore, needs to be engaged coherently and urgently from the perspective of regional interest,” he concluded.
On the sidelines of this conference, President Ghani met with Uzbek president, a US delegation and the Pakistani prime minister.