Ghani says Pak-Afghan ties not brotherly

Published: September 29, 2015
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. PHOTO: REUTERS

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. PHOTO: REUTERS

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Monday that relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan were not brotherly but like a relationship between two states. In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation on the first anniversary of his presidential term, Ghani urged Islamabad to take the same stance against terrorists targeting Pakistan or any other country.

The Afghan president’s statement comes at a time when relations between the two countries are tense, with leaders from both sides accusing the other of harbouring terrorists. Popular belief in Afghanistan questions Pakistan’s sincerity in seeking a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.

Read: Pak-Afghan ties: ‘We will have to go the extra mile to end impasse’

“The point is that they [Pakistanis] cannot adopt a hard stance against any terrorist activities in their own country and a different stance for terrorists devastating Afghanistan,” Ghani
said in the interview. “Peace between the two countries is of paramount importance,” he added. “Unless there is peace, the hideouts of terrorists as well as the system supporting them will remain there.”

The Afghan president said terrorism was a big threat to Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. “The [attacks on] children and soldiers in Peshawar is a grim reminder for them [Pakistanis] that you cannot differentiate between good and bad as long as terrorists are concerned,” he said while referring to the Army Public School attack, which had left more than 150 people, mostly schoolchildren, dead in December 2014.

Read: Souring ties : Pak-Afghan trade deals stall on India

Ghani said it was high time the Taliban decided whether they were Afghans or tools of international extremism and regional hegemony. “If they choose to be Afghans, which I hope they will, peace will return here,” he said. “Otherwise they will become isolated as no one will support them.”

He added that the Taliban needed to understand that they had become unpopular for killing children and innocent people. “The society is fed up with war and wants peace.”


Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Sharath Chandra
    Sep 29, 2015 - 9:00AM

    Its high time that Pakistan does some sort of introspection about its status in the international community. Its dependency on foreign aid, its inability to focus on development, its misplaced priorities, weak leadership, resource grabbing army all these are only spelling a disaster to its people.Recommend

  • pakis92
    Sep 29, 2015 - 9:05AM

    oh yes the ties are not brotherly now bcoz Pakistan needs peace in afghanistan for development and Afghanis cant see the development in Pakistan….Pakistan should kick all afghanis from its territory to create a brotherly relation.Recommend

  • Ozair
    Sep 29, 2015 - 9:14AM

    Mr Ghani’s grip over Afghanistan is so poor that he should be called Mayor of Kabul rather than calling him President of Afghanistan. He has no control outside of KabulRecommend

  • Zulfiqar
    Sep 29, 2015 - 9:25AM

    Then take back your millions of Afghanis living in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Ali
    Sep 29, 2015 - 9:39AM

    Well it’s time that we also come out of these old thoughts. World have changed and we should also look for our interests.
    First of all we should return 2 million afghan refugees and the families they added. Then we should build a wall on afghan border. That is what state of Pakistan should do for her interestsRecommend

  • Fahim
    Sep 29, 2015 - 9:56AM

    Kindly don’t call Pakistan in your internal affairs and stop sending terrorists hereRecommend

  • SAW
    Sep 29, 2015 - 10:55AM

    Pakistan must stop playing double games. The region will not tolerate that anymore.Recommend

  • Chouette
    Sep 29, 2015 - 11:05AM

    It is no secret that Pakistan military has been colluding with the Taliban to destabilize Afghanistan. President Ghani is absolutely right in asking Pakistan to revisit their policy of using the Taliban as proxies.
    Also, the majority of the comments denouncing President Ghani and Afghan refugees have very little knowledge (or are deliberately ignorant) of Pakistan’s interference in Afghanistan for decades. we need some introspection. and hollow patriotism and chest thumping might feed into our fantasies of grandeur but they are not more than illusions. Recommend

  • Sep 29, 2015 - 11:11AM

    Pakistan and Afghanistan must be on the same page, both countries must decide that call every element for peace dialogue if anyone denies it, then both countries will act together to eliminate themRecommend

  • Aahjiz BayNawa
    Sep 29, 2015 - 11:35AM

    Pakistan is bending backwards to improve relations with the Kabul government but it is not receiving sincere reciprocity. So how can relations develop into brotherly relations as it take the cooperation of both for achieving that end. Ghani should stop suspecting Pakistan’s changed stance towards Afghanistan and should do his part to improve relations.Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Sep 29, 2015 - 11:48AM

    Invariably dementia sets in in any new Prez of Afghanistan. The same was with Karzai.Recommend

  • Afghan Ghaznavi
    Sep 29, 2015 - 12:39PM

    Relations between states are just that, no need to categorize it as brotherly or add familial connotations because of a shared religion. Afghans and Pakistanis only have one thing in common and that is Islam, which is not enough to be brotherly otherwise all the Arab states would have been one entity. The Pashtuns of both states have divergent views and don’t share a common ethos since they are beholden to their own respective narratives and nation states. Ashraf Ghani is spot on in his assessment of the relationship between the two states. Recommend

  • Afghan Ghaznavi
    Sep 29, 2015 - 12:40PM

    Relations between states are just that, no need to categorize it as brotherly or add familial connotations because of a shared religion. Afghans and Pakistanis only have one thing in commom and that is Islam, which is not enough to be brotherly otherwise all the Arab states would have been one entity. The Pashtuns of both states have divergent views and don’t share a common ethos since they are beholden to their own respective narratives and nation states. Ashraf Ghani is spot on in his assessment of the relationship between the two states. Recommend

  • Bilal
    Sep 29, 2015 - 12:56PM

    Interesting. Mr. Ghani should know links between Pakistan and Afghanistan are stronger than that. We’ve accommodated the largest refugee populations in the world in form of Afghans escaping massacre.
    It doesnt make sense for Pakistan to be playing negative role in a country whose citizen it houses. Counter-intuitive. Nevertheless, its imperative, as a state to protect our interests anywhere and not allow Afghanistan to be used as a proxy for Pakistan-India rivalry.
    Pakistan has managed to nip the evil in the bud by taking stern action within its sovereign boundaries not only because it chose to do so but also because it had the wherewithal to. Does the Afghan govt. too? With limited control outside the confines of Kabul enclaves, I don’t think so. Hence, we keep seeing constant cribbing and this passing-on-the-buck mentality.Its easier to conduct elections but difficult to gain legitimacy.The question in Afghanistan has never been what Pakistan can/should do.It has got to be what the Afghan govt. is capable of doing. With so many insurgents in-bed within the Afghan army we can understand the professionalism, much less the will to clamp down on home-grown insurgents. Obvious results – turn guns towards those who can i.e.Pakistan. Besides, there’s always the India-factor (trying to encircle Pakistan). It would remain messy until genuine reconciliation between stakeholders is not initiated. Till then you’ll hear every Afghan president crib.
    We don’t want to be brothers, but lets be civilized neighbors.Recommend

  • goldconsumer
    Sep 29, 2015 - 2:24PM

    Meanwhile the Afghan Army looses an entire city of Kundooz and Kabul, is just one province away..Recommend

  • maqbool
    Sep 29, 2015 - 2:59PM

    Afghanistan peoples and leadership has never ever been in confession. I don’t know why the Pakistani leader don’t understand and leave up and give up with Afghanistan but only and just as a neighbor sending back these muhajirs . Recommend

  • Sep 29, 2015 - 3:03PM

    @Sharath Chandra:
    mr. chandra just shut up. Like other indians you do not have G.K. What you will say about 3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan during Russian invasion? No country is ready to take only 70000 refugees willingly. It was only the Pakistan which still is home of 1.6 million refugees. Yes we do have problems like other countries but still Pakistan is a country where minorities are safe not like india where after every 10 years RSS arranges bloodbath by killing thousands of Muslims. What about your PM who must be tried in Hague for severe human rights violations but what indians have done. They have selected him as their PM. WOW. Honestly, we have serious doubts over collective psychology of indians. Sorry but it is true. Recommend

  • Sep 29, 2015 - 3:32PM

    Only the naive say that Pakistan and Afghanistan’s ties are not brotherly. In the pages of history decades of ignorance and animosity do not matter.
    A large part of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan was one for centuries and even millenniums (Correct me if I am wrong, I’m talking about Khorasan)
    The Pakistanis and Afghans have bonds going beyond blood line. All Muslim conquests in this region came from the East.
    My people, in the larger picture of history, pawn governments and leaders do not matter, rather the street emotion does. I, having spent most part of my life in Pakistan, have not ever heard of animosity against Afghans on the Pakistani street. Our ties are rooted in blood and religion.
    However, there is substantial evidence to support the claim that the pawn leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan are working in connivance with India to ensure instability in this region.
    I will shamelessly borrow this expression since it’s a correct representation of the situation in Afghanistan. The street supports Taliban’s movement against foreign occupation, what will you do Ashraf Ghani?
    Its easier to conduct elections but difficult to gain legitimacy.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 29, 2015 - 4:35PM

    Majority of Pakistanis would say same thing. We are two different countries and people. There should be a secured border between two countries. Every illegal Afghan should be kicked out of the country and others allowed to enter with valid documents only. Recommend

  • mahakaalchakra
    Sep 29, 2015 - 8:10PM

    @khurram shahzad:

    Your memory appears to be very short or selective.

    Pakistan has been collecting billions of dollars from the international community, USA and UN since 1980 for feeding and arming these Afghan refugees.

    Those Pakistani rulers who were responsible for the genocide of 3 million fellow citizens in its eastern wing in 1971 were not even charged despite your own Justice Humoodur Rahman report in 1972 which was not even allowed to released in Pakistan.

    Modi is an elected PM of the largest democracy in the history of mankind.Recommend

  • mahakaalchakra
    Sep 29, 2015 - 8:16PM

    @The Failed Rebel:

    This area of Pakistan and the people now claim to be Pakistanis, have been ruled only by the invaders from the east since 8th century invasions started except only one son-of-the-soil whose name was MAHARAJA RANJIT SINGH for almost 50 years. He was the only one who defeated Afghans and captured Peshawar otherwise Peshawar would have been part of Afghanistan.


  • awais
    Sep 29, 2015 - 8:39PM

    Please take your millions of Refugees back. Recommend

  • Oats
    Sep 29, 2015 - 10:12PM

    @Chouette: It’s no secret that India and Afghans have been trying to cause trouble in Pakistan for decades. The Afghans foolishly agreed to become puppets of India and in the process they destroyed their own country. It’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The whole world knows that Afghanistan and India were too busy causing problems in Pak but it only wound up burning Afghanistan. Now is time for Ghani and all Afghans to stop these games and work for their poor people. Look at all the poor Afghan refugees in Pakistan or all the poor Afghans smuggling themselves into Germany to cry for asylum / panah! If Kabul focused on own people instead of working for Indian intelligence, Afghan refugees could live in their own country instead of begging all over the world.Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Sep 29, 2015 - 10:14PM

    Agree 100% Recommend

  • Azi
    Sep 30, 2015 - 5:05AM

    Afghanistan has a govt.? Well I didnt know that, how can I say 20 people living in a palace guarded by 20,000 men a govt.? Almost everyday there are jail breaks, bombings, blame slings for own failures. I am honestly surprised how long ghani is “running” govt. in there.

    Please populate Afghanistan and start by sending back millions of refugees back to their “beloved” home.Recommend

  • Afzal
    Sep 30, 2015 - 7:26PM

    Your brain cells are frozen in foolishness. You seem to be living your life in a pot hole set on a path of self appeasing. You come here and use this page and abuse our hospitality. We certainly have had painfully challenging part of our history which more than half a century latter we are trying to put behind us. Thre are lot of things that can be said about your bharatmata but we generally follow a policy of not putting you to any shame when they are themselves doing that to them. How many billions you think Pakistan has taken for looking after the refugees. Do you have any data or is it Hamid Karzai’ whisper. At least we looked after them unlike India who used the excuse of refugee influx to invade our eastern wing.

    Times have passed, India’s malicious work of violating our sovereignty in 1971 after years of conspiring has been recorded in SA history and Pakistan has identified factors which had made it vulnerable. To day Pakistan is formidably strong and capable of giving a good knock despite our economic mess. We could even assist and join forces if the current Khalistan movement was to rise from its dormant mode and do the same what India did in East Pakistan.
    Think before writing any further rubbish here.Recommend

  • Afzal
    Sep 30, 2015 - 7:30PM

    Agree, very insightful reflection!Recommend

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