The era of animosity is over, a peaceful future is on the horizon
Afghanistan is on the cusp of normalizing perennially volatile ties with Pakistan after decades of animus. ‘Imagine where we would have been if we had crafted win-win solutions to our problems anchored on de-escalation, moderation, trade, transit and economic integration’
KABUL: Abdullah Abdullah in his second day in Pakistan said the era of bellicose rhetoric and conspiracy theories is over and it is time to write a new chapter in Afghanistan-Pakistan bilateral ties.
Abdullah began his trip to Pakistan on Monday to seek Islamabad’s assistance in crucial peace process, against the awful backdrop of perennially tumultuous bilateral ties between the two nations. Many presume this to be the herald of the new age of Afghan-Pak ties as Islamabad has shown unprecedented support for Afghan peace negotiations, despite a wide cynicism among Afghans about Pakistan’s foreign policy towards Afghanistan.
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation met Tuesday with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed normalization of bilateral ties.
Before that, he delivered a speech at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad. He said a peaceful future for Afghanistan is on the horizon. He stated that the first meeting of peace and reconciliation talks with the Taliban began in Doha on September 12, and that negotiating teams from both sides were now discussing ways to end the war peacefully and reach a political settlement.
He lauded Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process as ‘constructive’ and said that Pakistan has a more important role to play in building a peaceful and prosperous region, not only in helping it succeed, but also in standing by the people and government of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is now looking forward to Pakistan’s practical and earnest efforts, he said.
“I believe that now is the time to move beyond the repetitive slogans and conspiracy theories that have held us back, and to mark a new chapter in Afghan-Pak bilateral ties,” Mr. Abdullah said. “It is not in the interest of any country to continue the current situation,” he said. He added that both countries now need a new approach to looking at the region as a “single region”.
He stated that the countries should look at the ground realities of the region over the past thirty years, its geopolitical and geo-economic changes to draw lessons from their threats and opportunities. “Imagine where we would have been if we had crafted solutions anchored on win-win situation, de-escalation, moderation, more regional connectivity, trade, transit, economic integration and more effective interaction between businesses and people,” said Abdullah.
He said it is not late as many opportunities for security, political and economic cooperation have emerged for Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is time for both countries to rethink their strategic agendas and begin a new perspective, he said.
Afghanistan and Pakistan discuss common problems and interests and know that peace and stability in Afghanistan can have positive consequences for its neighbors in South and Central Asia.
“Our nation is interconnected more than before, determined to decide freely about their governments and a political system in line with their unity and diversity of their society,” he said. “This transformed nation wants to preserve its core achievements, including the civil rights and freedoms of all groups living in Afghanistan”.
Dr. Abdullah stressed that Afghanistan does not allow any terrorists to be present on its territory and does not allow any group to pose a threat to others.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Pakistani envoy for Afghanistan Sadeq Khan also addressed the meeting. The Pakistani side stressed that peace for Afghanistan is peace for Pakistan.