Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday slammed Pakistan at a regional conference in Tashkent for the entry of foreign militants into Afghanistan and its failure to influence the Taliban to seriously engage in peace talks.
Ghani strongly criticized Pakistan in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and leaders and representatives of several other countries. "Intelligence estimates indicate that more than 10,000 jihadist fighters have entered (in Afghanistan) from Pakistan and other places in the past month," Ghani said at the conference on Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity, Challenges, and Opportunities.
Ashraf Ghani said that Pakistan has failed to fulfill assurances of influencing the Taliban to participate in peace talks and stopping cross-border activities of terrorists. The Taliban have been moving rapidly across Afghanistan over the past few weeks and have been occupying large parts of the country. The US withdrew most of its security forces and aims to withdraw the remaining forces by August 31.
Ghani said Prime Minister Khan and his generals have repeatedly assured that the coming of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan is not in Pakistan's interest. He said the networks and organizations that support the Taliban are openly celebrating the destruction of the assets and capabilities of the Afghan people and the state.
The Afghan president said there is a consensus among credible international observers that the Taliban has taken no steps to sever its ties with terrorist organizations.
We, the people and the government of Afghanistan, are completely focused on the present moment and are committed to ensuring our survival as a nation, he said. "We are prepared to confront the Taliban and their supporters until they realize that a political solution is the only way forward," Ghani said.
In his address, Pakistan's prime minister said he was disappointed by Ghani's remarks and that no other country has tried to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
"We call on the Taliban to negotiate with the government of Afghanistan to stop the war and the devastating recent attacks," Ghani said. At the same time, we appeal to Pakistan to use its influence for peace and an end to hostilities.