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Peace with Pakistan is our national agenda: Ashraf Ghani

02 September, 2017

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KABUL: Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani in his Eidul Azha message reached out to Pakistan offering “comprehensive negotiations” to bring peace to their troubled relationship.

Like most Muslim countries, Afghanistan is celebrating Eid on Friday, while in Pakistan it is being celebrated on Saturday.

“Ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been steadily deteriorating amid spate of allegations about cross-border terrorism among other disputes,” the Afghan president said.

While addressing political elites and journalists at the Presidential Palace on Friday in connection with Eidul Azha, President Ghani also renewed calls for peace with the Taliban, and for resuming political dialogue with Pakistan to overcome the differences.

“From here, I have a message for Pakistan: We are ready for comprehensive political talks. Peace with Pakistan is in our national agenda,” Ghani said who has long been blaming Pakistan for ‘waging an undeclared war’ against Afghanistan.

Afghanistan routinely accuses Pakistan of harbouring Taliban insurgents, while Islamabad says its enemies have found sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

The two countries also squabble relentlessly over the border that separates the two. Known as the Durand Line, Afghanistan refuses to accept it as the international border.

Firefights between the armies have broken out as Pakistan seeks to fence it.

Last month, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed upon the need to restore mutual trust following persistent rift between the two neighbours.

A delegation from Pakistan led by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua visited Kabul on August 15 for bilateral political consultations with the Afghan officials.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), a wide range of issues, including the Afghan peace process, security along the Durand Line and bilateral trade were discussed.

This was the first formal face-to-face interaction between the high-ranking officials from both sides following May 31 deadly truck bombing in Kabul that killed up to 150 people, mostly civilians.

The Afghan president pointed out major changes in Afghanistan’s foreign policy, saying that the past four decades’ wishes of Afghans would come true in the near future. President Ashraf Ghani said it was the time for anti-government armed groups to choose the path of peace “if they are Afghans and are not the tools of others”.

“The anti-government armed groups should choose. It is the time that they should choose that whether they are Afghans and have been grown by an Afghan mother or they are a tool of Khawarij (members of an evil group that appeared in the first century of Islam) for creating divisions (among the people of Afghanistan),” he said. “Once again I extend the hand of peace to all of them (militant groups) and tell them that peace is the order of God.”

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