AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Delivering a speech at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi-based think tank, the former President Hamid Karzai said that war on terror has failed to discourage Pakistan from using terrorism and religious radicalism as tools against its immediate neighbors.
Karzai said that the Islamic State or Daesh militants, who have emerged as a new threat to Afghanistan, were finding support from a ‘sinister agency’ from ‘across the border’.
“We know that the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan is made of foreign fighters. We know that these fighters are being controlled from across the border,” said Karzai, asking big powers to display greater coordination in dealing with cross-border terror.
Karzai, who became the leader of Afghanistan following the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, blamed the United States-backed radicalization movements during the Cold War era for the troubles facing South Asia and West Asia-North Africa. The fallout of radicalization has been long term and has surrounded the entire region and spread to Iraq and Syria, he said.
“Pakistan is paying a price of the radicalization process that began in the anti-Soviet jihad. Just last week, some of the most educated people of Pakistan died in an attack in Quetta. We, therefore, are appealing to brothers in Pakistan so that we can have a civilized relationship and show that religion is for good purposes,” Karzai said.
Karzai said that cross-border threats need to be confronted and Afghanistan has been demanding for military equipment to deal with the threat. “But India told us that it did not want to aggravate the situation thereby meeting our demand immediately,” said Karzai lauding India’s patient policy on Afghanistan.
“There are many political leaders in Pakistan including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who want good relations with neighbors and would agree with my request for peace in our region,” Karzai was quoted by Indian media.
Moreover, Karzai said that India is not engaged in any proxy war in Afghanistan and has been sincerely carrying out reconstruction work there, but slammed Pakistan for “encouraging” radicalism and not containing terror groups operating from its soil.
Karzai also appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for raising the issue of Balochistan in his Independence Day address, saying Afghanistan understands the problems being faced by the people of Pakistan’s southern province.
Karzai said, “The issue of Balochistan is something we understand and therefore we appreciate the remarks of Prime Minister Modi.”
In an interactive session on “Regional Power Play and Rise of Radicalism in Afghanistan”, he identified terrorism as the single biggest challenge faced by the regional countries and called for a united fight to defeat it.
Karzai, who was president of Afghanistan from 2001-2014, said China has been a good neighbor to Afghanistan and its military and security assistance to his country was very recent. At the same time, he said that Afghanistan’s ties with China are not as deep as it is with India.
“But the overall relationship between China and Afghanistan is of course very good,” he added.
Asked about criticism in some quarters that India and Pakistan were engaged in a proxy war in his country, Karzai retorted by saying, “India is not engaging in any proxy war in Afghanistan…Training thousands of Afghans is not a proxy war, it is empowerment.”
India has supplied four Mi25 helicopters to Afghanistan besides providing training to Afghan security forces.