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Editorial: Friends and foes

Post the new US strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia, major developments are taking place around the globe. The US, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan’s leadership are making bilateral visits to safeguard individual and collective interests. Kabul, New Delhi and others among the peace-loving voices had earlier welcomed the US tougher approach on Pakistan. It’s no more a secret that the notorious Haqqani network, the Afghan Taliban and others, more than 20 terrorist groups have been enjoying safe sanctuaries, training centers and state support on Pakistan’s soil that are involved in Afghan genocide and bleeding the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan in order to undermine war on terror. Keeping in view the ground realities, the Afghan leadership and general masses have reached to a final conclusion to identify and define their national friends and foes. Friendship with friendly countries has to be valued and nurtured and enemies would be confronted. Some weeks ago, Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Bajwa and then the Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval made official visits to Kabul and extended their invitations to President Ghani to visit their capitals. The Afghan leadership chose India to visit first where Ashraf Ghani-led high ranking-delegation, comprising Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and National Security Adviser Haneef Atmar held extensive discussions with Indian President, Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. The Afghan delegation was given a warm welcome on arrival in New Delhi. It was Ghani’s fourth visit to India in the last three years and 12th personal interaction with PM Modi. During detailed discussions, both sides reiterated their commitment to their strategic partnership and positively assessed the outcomes of the recent high level bilateral exchanges, including the visits of Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Foreign Minister Rabbani to India last month and that of the Indian NSA to Kabul last week. The Indian leadership supported Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled peace process. Moreover, India hailed bravery and sacrifices of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in war on terror and extended its support in the defense and security sectors, including training of thousands of Afghan defense and security personnel and it would provide further assistance depending upon the needs of defense and police forces. The new generation India, time-tested friend of Afghanistan has been played a vital role in the reconstruction of our war-hit country since the ouster of Taliban regime in 2001 and has vested over $2 billion in health, agriculture, drinking water supply, education, renewable energy, infrastructure development, skill development and capacity building and will further contribute in reconstruction, economic growth and effective governance. The civilization links and people-to-people contacts have provided a strong foundation to the ever-growing bilateral friendship. The two countries have deepened their strategic partnership in recent times. Both countries that are being victims of cross-border and state supported terrorism have been recognized by the Washington as major strategic partners in South Asia. Despite bilateral visits and good will gestures, Pakistan still stuck to its pro-terror policies. The President Trump may allow continued drone strikes and carpet bombardment against the safe havens of terrorist groups in FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan, if Pakistan not renounced supporting and harboring insurgent outfits. At the moment, we are passing through a critical stage which needs vigilance and effective diplomacy to bring durable peace and stability in the country. All it needs to keep open doors for all the regional countries and big powers to make Afghanistan a center of cooperation, rather than a battlefield among the various regional and international players. Now there is huge expectation that Indian and US support to import a fruitful result in strengthening of our defense and security organs as well as reconciliation process, eventually lead us toward peace and stability.

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