Ghani warns against Afghan 'proxy war' at South Asia summit

Afghan president says he will not allow territory to be used against any neighbour

Afp November 26, 2014

KATHMANDU: Afghanistan's new president told the leaders of India and Pakistan he would not let his country become the battleground of a proxy war Wednesday as the enmity between South Asia's arch rivals cast a shadow over a regional summit.

Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have long accused each other of using proxy forces to try to gain influence in Afghanistan.

But the imminent departure of Nato combat forces from Afghanistan has raised fears that rivalry could escalate, further destabilising the two countries' troubled neighbour as it seeks to rebuild after decades of war.

President Ashraf Ghani issued his warning to South Asian leaders meeting in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu to try to reinvigorate regional cooperation held back by decades of rivalry between India and Pakistan.

"We will not allow our territory to be used against any of our neighbours. But we will not permit anybody to conduct proxy wars on our soil either," he told the gathered leaders, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Ghani's predecessor Hamid Karzai frequently accused Islamabad of trying to destabilise the Kabul government by giving sanctuary to Taliban fighters.

Only last week, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf warned that the departure of Nato troops at the end of the year could provoke a proxy Indo-Pakistan war involving members of Afghanistan's rival ethnic groups.

"It should be clear that such measures have blowback effects, destabilising the state system," he said.

The leaders of the eight South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries are meeting for the first time since the election of a new Indian government eager to improve ties in the face of growing Chinese influence in its backyard.

Regional leaders at the meeting stressed the need for greater cooperation to combat poverty in South Asia, where cross-border trade remains minimal, held back by mistrust and weak infrastructure.

"My vision for our region is a dispute free South Asia where instead of fighting each other we jointly fight poverty, illiteracy, disease, malnourishment and unemployment," said PM Nawaz.

However, an Indian official said that Modi will hold meetings on the sidelines of the Saarc summit with all the leaders except PM Nawaz.


Khattak | 6 years ago | Reply

Ghani said that “sponsoring non state actors by state actors & terrorist sanctuaries will have have blow back effects". This is very blunt warning. He signed the BSA in first 24 hours of his presidency. US will not be fool him like they did to karzai by running with hare & hunting with hounds. This guy means business.

Ihsanullah | 6 years ago | Reply

I believe Ghani has the ability to do so but one thing i wanna say India shouldn't invest its money in Afghanistan because the Afghanis are Muslims and they will never be friend for ever with India and all the investments of India in Afghanistan is same like to putting the ashes of a Hindu into Ganga! regards,

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