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Using extremism won’t serve Pakistan, West’s interests: Karzai

AT-KABUL: Former President, Hamid Karzai says that the use of Taliban and extremism would not serve Pakistan and the West’s interests in Afghanistan. He called Taliban as part of the Afghan population, used by Pakistani authorities. “Unfortunately, our brotherly country Pakistan with the West and some other countries felt that radicalism and extremism in the religion would serve their interests in Afghanistan,” Karzai said in an interview with an Indian broadcaster, ‘World is One’.

“The Americans and some other Western countries did it (extremism) against the Soviet Union. Pakistan used it against Afghanistan and against India,” the ex-president said.

“Eventually, with the immense consequences for Afghanistan and India, now it’s tragically consequences for Pakistan.”

He said that the environment created by the West and Pakistan with a “false hope” that bring them what they seek, has been proved that will not bring them.

In response to a question about Pakistani general’s call for the deployment of more US troops in Afghanistan, Karzai said that Pakistan should stop training people and sending them to Afghanistan to kill Afghans and foreigners.

“I would suggest that instead of asking for sending more troops, they should close sanctuaries, they should close training camps and they should close the indoctrination of the young boys into extremism, radicalism and committing terrorist activities.”

Karzai opposed adding troops in Afghanistan, asking the United States to go after terrorist sanctuaries out of the Afghanistan borders.

Karzai went on with calling Russia as an important and “very, very significant” neighbor of Afghanistan, saying Moscow was legitimately concerned in Afghanistan.

“Russia was the full backer of the US presence in Afghanistan. It was a full backer of the exercise against radicalism and extremism and terrorism launched by the West,” he said, adding that the US-led war became endless with more extremism with each day passing.

Former president added that Russia started to wonder that what was happening and if the US campaign was wrong.

“That caused suspicions, as everybody else, as us in Afghanistan. That was the reason I did not sign the BSA (Bilateral Security Agreement), because I didn’t see clarity.”

He repeated that Russia was legitimately concerned, adding that he understood and approved Moscow’s concerns. “Daesh emerged during the presence of the US in Afghanistan. So, everyone has to be concerned.”

Karzai called Russia as a “wise country” which did not want to resort to military action in Afghanistan, but had the right to seek explanation from the United States.

The former president asked the Trump administration to have a “complete” review in the US presence in Afghanistan for the past 15 years.

“They have to get a review on what went wrong, what was right, what did we achieve, and what did not? There must be a consideration, a redrawing of the plans,” Karzai continued.

The former president also said that China and Afghanistan were in a very good relationship, with Beijing investing in Afghanistan, wishing that Beijing and New Delhi would be in a good relationship too.

“My desire as a citizen of this region is the best relations between China and India. I am one those who seek immense cooperation between these two great nations.”

He did not reject the presence of militants in Afghan soil operating against Pakistan, but blamed Islamabad for providing such opportunity.

“It is possible that militants come to Afghanistan and use Afghanistan against Pakistan. But who created this environment? Who created the thoughts? And who prepared the ground for this? Unfortunately, the Pakistani military establishment,” Karzai said, adding that Pakistan weakened itself and weakened Afghanistan “so much” that possibly elements are there to use Afghanistan.

Karzai said Pakistan’s intention of building fence along the Durand line was not a solution, adding that it would only add more suspicions and difficulties.

“Fencing will not stop brothers and families to visit each other. It only adds suspicions and difficulties,” the former president said. “The solution is a civilized relationship and the recognition of realities. The reality is that Afghanistan is a neighbor, the reality is that India is a neighbor and so others.”

He said the use of militancy and barriers would not promote any of Pakistan’s interests, but would hurt them.

Karzai called the Pashtoon population as the consequence of the British line that was not accepted by Afghanistan.

“We don’t blame Pakistan for that. Pakistan was created 50 or 60 years later. But Pakistan became the inherit of this line which no Afghan will accept, which no Afghan government will accept,” he said. “Yes, there are a large number of Pashtoons in Pakistan and nobody can ignore.”

Karzai said he didn’t think of a comeback as president, adding the young generation should get the chance to emerge.

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