Pakistan responds to President Ghani’s remarks; says terrorism is a “common enemy”

Hours after President Ashraf Ghani slammed Pakistan for not doing enough to dismantle terrorist sanctuaries in that country, Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs (MoFA) said terrorism is a “common enemy” for both the neighboring countries.

In a statement issued late on Monday, Pakistan’s MoFA said they have “taken note of” President Ghani’s press conference on Monday and “its contents relating to Pakistan”.

Addressing a hurriedly convened press conference on Monday afternoon, President Ghani said the aim of terrorist attacks is to topple states and state system in the region.

The incidents of the past two months in general and the past few days in particular, he said, show that “the suicide training camps and bomb making facilities used to target and murder our innocent people still operate, as in the past, in Pakistan”.

In a statement issued late on Monday, Pakistan’s MoFA said they have “taken note of” President Ghani’s press conference on Monday and “its contents relating to Pakistan”

“We waited all this long for Pakistan to demonstrate its will through action,” he said. “However, Pakistan still remains a venue and ground for gatherings from which mercenaries send us messages of war.”

The press conference came hours after a powerful car bomb explosion outside Kabul Airport that left at least seven civilians dead and 18 others injured.

On Friday, three suicide attacks rocked Kabul city, resulting in 355 civilian casualties, including 42 deaths and 313 injured, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s MoFA issued a statement on Friday, condemning the “cowardly act against innocent civilians”.

“We reaffirm our resolve to fight terrorism in close coordination with the government of Afghanistan and we stand with our Afghan brothers in our common struggle against terrorism,” said the statement.

However, the clamor against Pakistan is growing in Afghanistan with many senior Afghan government officials denouncing what they call ‘Pakistan-backed terrorism’.

Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, during a meeting of the council of ministers in Kabul on Monday, said the Afghan government took many “bold steps” to improve ties with Pakistan over the past 10 months but the efforts were not reciprocated by Islamabad.

“Those who act against our people are financed there, armed there,” Dr. Abdullah said. “They keep Mullah Omar’s death a secret for two years, and then openly hold new leadership meetings in order to restore their identity under the leadership of a new criminal, to gain legitimacy and continue their carnage.”

Stung by the criticism, Pakistan’s MoFA in another statement on Monday said they are “committed to maintaining good neighborly relations” with Afghanistan and all other regional countries.

Pakistan, the statement added, considers “enemies of Afghanistan as its own enemies” and has been “extending its fullest cooperation” to Afghanistan in combating terrorism

“Having been the biggest victim of terrorism itself with human losses exceeding 60,000, the people and the government of Pakistan can feel the pain and anguish of the brotherly people and the government of Afghanistan over the recent wave of terrorist attacks, which have resulted in the loss of many valuable lives and injuries to scores of people,” the statement said.

Pakistan, the statement added, considers “enemies of Afghanistan as its own enemies” and has been “extending its fullest cooperation” to Afghanistan in combating terrorism.

“Pakistan remains committed to supporting and facilitating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan,” the statement read. 

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