Afghan president 'cautiously optimistic' over Pakistan

By AFP
Published: March 27, 2015
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Ghani believes improved relations with Pakistan are key to denying support for Afghan Taliban insurgents. PHOTO: AFP

Ghani believes improved relations with Pakistan are key to denying support for Afghan Taliban insurgents. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Thursday he was “cautiously optimistic” about improved relations with Pakistan, which he considers integral to peace efforts with the Taliban.

Ghani has made rapprochement with Pakistan a key policy since being elected as Afghanistan’s second president since the US-led toppling of the Pakistan-backed Taliban regime in 2001.

Despite facing criticism at home for his efforts, he defended the policy as key to peace while addressing an audience in New York on his maiden presidential visit to the United States.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ve begun a process of fundamental transformation,” he told the Council on Foreign Relations in response to a question about Afghan-Pakistani ties.

Ghani, who said both countries were working to end 13 years of hostilities, believes improved relations with Pakistan are key to denying support for Afghan Taliban insurgents.

“Without sanctuary, a long-term rebellion is impossible. When sanctuaries end, peace breaks out. That’s what happened in Central America and Latin America, that’s what has happened in Africa,” he said.

Pakistani support has been seen as crucial in recent moves to persuade the Taliban to talk to Kabul, as well as in denying them safe havens on Pakistani soil.

The Taliban say they will not negotiate while foreign troops remain on Afghan soil.

Ghani cited a Taliban massacre at a school in Peshawar in December that killed 153 people, mostly children, as helping to bring the two governments closer together.

“Terrorists neither require passports nor recognize nationalities,” Ghani said.

“I’m hopeful that we will have sufficient wisdom not to sink but to swim together,” he added.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Ashraf
    Mar 27, 2015 - 11:41AM

    Mr.Ghani has a long way to go in Politics and a lot to learn too. Recommend

  • Mar 27, 2015 - 11:59AM

    Good, very good! IshAllah! It will last because all of us are fed up with all the killing. SalamsRecommend

  • Khattak
    Mar 27, 2015 - 1:17PM

    Ghani has a life long preparation to save Afghanistan from these undeclared hostilities. He is a realist & is doing the right by presenting Afghanistan to US & the world. You can not expect this from a one eye molla. The way he addressed & charmed joint session of US Congress is rare in history. His mission to open Afghanistan like the Lapis Lazuli route(5 days travel) to Europe & making Afghanistan Energy Corridore is something Pakistan & India can benefit from. One day thing have to change, it can not remain the same for life.Recommend

  • amir
    Mar 27, 2015 - 1:34PM

    leopard does changes its stops. Even if Pakistan does not want to interfere its 50 YEAR OLD FOREIGN POLICY is such it will be on wrong side of one or both parties. Take example of Syria , Kashmir Afghanistan Iran and now Yemen. what you sow , you reap. irrespective of who fights whom , Pakistan is effected party Recommend

  • Aamir
    Mar 27, 2015 - 2:01PM

    It looks like the Indian trolls are put again on [email protected]: Recommend

  • amir
    Mar 27, 2015 - 2:48PM

    @Aamir. Pakistan has no patent on name amir or for that matter any Muslim sounding name need not be overtly pro Pakistan.It is not a cardinal sin to have different point of view I am not a Pakistani nor an Indian, but any individual who has spent some years in bannu and Multan. but does it changes facts , what I have put on table are fundamental . you people are best judge,its your country . take it in direction you want, best of luckRecommend

  • Kaleem Ullah
    Mar 27, 2015 - 4:11PM

    “I’m hopeful that we will have sufficient wisdom not to sink but to swim together,” he added.

    Ghani, You are winning hearts so far, not just in your people but across the border in Pakistan too. Hope the military action here will bring long awaited peace to region. Recommend

  • US CENTCOM
    Mar 27, 2015 - 6:47PM

    At the end of the day, Afghanistan and Pakistan face common challenges at the hands of common enemies. It makes sense for both nations to form a healthy working relationship for the betterment of the region.

    Ali Khan
    Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOMRecommend

  • يوسفزى
    Mar 28, 2015 - 7:18AM

    @Khattak:
    next century is the rise of Pastuns it’s written and we are seeing the signsRecommend

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