It’s not just our war, says Kabul’s envoy

Moin Mrastyal asserts different power pursuing their agendas in war-torn country


Umer Farooq December 21, 2017
An Afghan policeman stands at the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan September 13, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

PESHAWAR: An Afghan diplomat has said different powers are active in Afghanistan in pursuit of their own agendas and that the war in Afghanistan is neither a war of Afghans nor can it be fought in Pakistan.

“Whoever they are, the United States, Russia, England, China, India or others, Pakistan and Afghanistan should closely monitor things and go ahead with their [Pakistan and Afghanistan] own agenda,” Afghan Consul General to Peshawar Moin Mrastyal told journalists on Wednesday.

He said some external forces were trying to expand distances between the two neighboring countries, adding that both the countries should invest in trade so that they might come closer to each other.

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“A diplomat’s first attempt is to develop political relations between two countries… and trade, cultural exchange, transportation, education and other sectors are his next task. But my approach prioritises trade, cultural exchange, transportation, education and other sectors,” Mrastyal said.

He said once both the countries were connected in trade, everyone would protect investment which would ultimately lead to maintaining peace because “no one likes financial loss”. He added, “Once there is trade between the two countries and beyond [from Central to South Asia], things will stay normal.”

Responding to different questions, the Afghan envoy said the Afghan government was determined not to let anyone – even those having strategic relations with Afghanistan and pacts to protect each other – use Afghan soil against any country, specifically Pakistan.

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“Chabahar port is connecting the Central Asian countries but Afghan traders prefer Karachi, and Chabahar cannot take over Afghan trade via Karachi,” he said, adding: “There might be differences politically, but it does not mean suspending ties and ending trade with one another.”

Mrastyal described the law and order situation as a hurdle not only in the way to supply of power and gas from Central Asia to Afghanistan and Pakistan but also in establishing good relations, including those in trade, between the two neighbours.

Talking about Gulbuddin Hikmatyar’s return to Kabul, the Afghan envoy said Hikmatyar led a political party now. He said the situation might take a turn for the better if all those opposing the current set-up, became part of the political process.

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He called upon the media to play its role for promoting peace, adding that Afghanistan had never seen a century of peace and encountered turmoil after every 50 years.

Mrastyal thanked the Islamia College Peshawar for increasing scholarships for Afghan students from six to 15, besides resolving different issues concerning Afghan students. He also laid stress on the need for exchange of visits involving students, academia, artists and media persons.

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