Pakistan will not support return of Taliban, says Afghan president
Concerns are mounting among the current Afghan administration because the complete US troop withdrawal, expected by September, could leave the country vulnerable to a Taliban takeover 20 years after it was ousted from power in a US-led invasion.
Ghani’s remarks came days after a visit from Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to Kabul.
“Pakistan’s army, in utter clarity, announced that the revival of Islamic Emirate is not in Pakistan’s national interest,” Ghani said in a televised speech after Eidul Fitr prayers on Thursday.
“Afghanistan’s peace and stability means peace and stability in the region,” the president said, adding the Pakistani army chief expressed his support for “the republic” — which is understood as Ghani’s government.
The Pakistani military did not immediately comment on Ghani’s statement. Its spokesperson also was not available when contacted by Arab News.
Ties between Kabul and Islamabad have been historically tense but have soured even more in the past 20 years. The Afghan government accused Pakistan of backing the Taliban which has been fighting to drive foreign troops out of the country and return to power.
Gen Bajwa’s visit to Kabul came as the negotiations have stalled for months and violent attacks in Afghanistan have been on the rise since the US missed a May 1 deadline to withdraw its soldiers under last year’s agreement between Washington and the Taliban.
“Pakistan is also not keen on seeing an extremist ideology taking root in Afghanistan. It represents a risk for the generals and Pakistan’s democracy as well,” Toreq Farhadi, a former adviser to the Afghan government, told Arab News.