Kabul-Islamabad bonhomie is on the wane. In what could be seen as a shift in Kabul’s stand, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani has hit out at the Pakistan government after a spate of recent terror attacks in Kabul and other parts of the country. While Afghanistan had made “sincere efforts for peace,” groups based in Pakistan continued to “send messages of war,” he said in Kabul. The remarks by the Afghan president are his toughest against Pakistan since he took office.
“Pakistan still remains a venue and ground for gatherings from which mercenaries send us message of war,” President Ghani told a press conference convened shortly after a massive suicide attack targeted the Kabul international airport, where at least 5 people were killed and more than 16 wounded. The recent attacks in Kabul are a “turning point for Afghanistan”, said Mr Ghani. He also spoke about how Pakistan is being used as a training ground and bomb making facilities to target Afghanistan.
“The security of our people and the national interests of Afghanistan lay the basis of our relationship with Pakistan. We can no longer tolerate to see our people bleeding in a war exported and imposed on us from outside,” Mr. Ghani said, asking if Pakistan’s shelter to violent groups should qualify it as “friend or enemy.” While these were definitely Mr Ghani’s first toughest stand against Pakistan, many critics in Afghanistan said it was inevitable and he had to realise it sooner or later since believing that Pakistan would stop attacks on Afghanistan was naïve.
Taliban continuing with the peace talks now looks even more remote as the situation continues to deteriorate further.
India, one of the key development partners of Afghanistan, has been closely tracking the spurt of violence in the neighbouring country with mounting concerns. Strongly condemning the attacks, Vikas Swarup, the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry, called them cowardly. “India always stands with Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism,” he said.