Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said Pakistan has to make an important decision of Afghan peace and urged European countries to “get Pakistan on board.”
In an interview with German publication Der Spiegel and reported by Afghanistan’s Tolo News, Ghani said Europeans, especially Germany, “can do a lot” in the peace process with the Taliban.
“Clear messages and incentives from Germany will help – and, conversely, they should introduce sanctions if the decision goes in a different direction than hoped,” said Ghani. “As Europeans, you should not see yourself as observers; you are a direct part of these events.”
When asked if a future security agreement between Kabul and Afghanistan is the key to peace, the Afghan preside said it is the “most important key” and added that the goal is the “neutrality of Afghanistan”.
“We don’t want a new protecting power, and we don’t want to be part of regional or international rivalries,” Ghani said as quoted in the interview.
“It is first and foremost a matter of getting Pakistan on board. The US now plays only a minor role. The question of peace or hostility is now in Pakistani hands.”
He also alleged that Pakistan “operates an organized system of support” for the Afghan Taliban and claimed the “Taliban receive logistics” from Pakistan.
“The names of the various decision-making bodies of the Taliban are Quetta Shura, Miramshah Shura and Peshawar Shura – named after the Pakistani cities where they are located. There is a deep relationship with the state.”
In a trip to Kabul last week, General Bajwa assured the Afghan leadership of Pakistan’s support for “inclusive power-sharing arrangement” and “elections as a right of Afghans to self-determination”.
Gen Bajwa was also accompanied by UK Chief of Defence Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter and Director General of the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed.
The visit came just days after US and other international forces started withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Since the beginning of the drawdown, which is set to complete by September 11, there has been a sudden spike in violence in Afghanistan.
With the Afghan Taliban reluctant to join the peace process, the increased violence has threatened further instability in Afghanistan, something that may have a spillover impact on its neighbours, including Pakistan. Against this backdrop, the visit of the army chief was seen as crucial.