Heart of Asia: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani snubs Pakistan, appreciates India's 'no strings attached' supportAfghan President Asharaf Ghani on Sunday said that the money Islamabad has pledged for Afghanistan's development should instead be spent on containing terrorism.
In a snub to Pakistan over the issue of terrorism, Afghan President Asharaf Ghani on Sunday said that the money Islamabad has pledged for Afghanistan's development should instead be spent on containing terrorism emanating from its territory.
“We need to identify cross-border terrorism and a fund to combat terrorism. Pakistan has pledged 500 million dollars for Afghanistan's development. This amount, Mr. Aziz, can be spent to contain extremism,” Ghani said, directly addressing Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz.
He was addressing the inaugural function of the 6th ministerial 'Heart of Asia conference - Istanbul Process on Afghanistan' in this Punjab city being attended by leaders from south and central Asia and several western countries.
"Afghanistan suffered the highest number of casualties last year. This is unacceptable...some still provide sanctuary for terrorists. As a Taliban figure said recently if they had no sanctuary in Pakistan, they wouldn't last a month," he said.
"I don't want a blame game, I want clarifications" on what is being done to prevent the export of terror, Ghani added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also focused on the issue of terrorism in his address at the conference.
“Terrorism and externally induced instability pose the gravest threat to Afghanistan’s peace, stability and prosperity. And, the growing arc of terrorist violence endangers our entire region. As such, support for voices of peace in Afghanistan alone is not enough.
“It must be backed by resolute action. Not just against forces of terrorism, but also against those who support, shelter, train and finance them,” he said.
“Silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and our region will only embolden terrorists and their masters. Third, our bilateral and regional commitments of material assistance for Afghanistan’s development and humanitarian needs must continue and increase,” Modi said.
During his address, Ghani was equally appreciative of India’s cooperation and unconditional support for the economic development of war-ravaged Afghanistan.
Ghani particularly spoke about India's assistance in the construction of Salma dam -- officially called the Afghan-India Friendship Dam -- that was inaugurated on June 4, 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Ghani in Herat province of that country.
"India's support to Afghanistan to improve people's life is transparent with no strings attached," the Afghan President said.
Ghani said the expansion of the key Chabahar port between India, Iran and his country was very important for regional trade and connectivity.
Ghani said the Chabahar port development project "is very important for connectivity and commerce". India and Iran signed a bilateral agreement in May 2016 to refurbish the port on the Gulf of Oman that is expected to provide an alternative route for trade between India and Afghanistan.