Afghan president slams Pakistan following deadly attacks

Ashraf Ghani blames Pakistan for series of Taliban attacks in Kabul, claiming training camps and bomb-producing factories operate from country

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has accused Pakistan of not doing enough to crack down on Taliban militants after a series of attacks during the past week killed more than 56 people in the country.

Ghani's televised speech on Monday was filled with words showing his frustration with Pakistan, which he accused of sending "messages of war" by harboring "bomb-making factories and suicide training camps."

The Afghan president demanded that Pakistan rein in the Taliban in a rare public rebuke.

"The last few days have shown that suicide-bomber training camps and bomb-producing factories that are killing our people are as active as before in Pakistan. We want action against the organizers," Ghani said.

"Pakistan still remains a venue and ground for gatherings from which mercenaries send us messages of war," he added, before saying, "We hoped for peace, but war is declared against us from Pakistani territory; this in fact puts into a display a clear hostility against a neighboring country."

Afghanistan has repeatedly accused  Pakistan of turning a blind eye to the Taliban despite peace talks in Islamabad involving the country's government. Ghani has pushed for talks to end the 14 years of violence between Afghanistan's government and the Taliban that has claimed more than 40,000 lives and since taking office last September had previously kept away from accusing Pakistan of supporting the Taliban directly in order to build better relations.

Ghani said, "We will make peace only with those who believe in the meaning of being a human, Muslim and Afghan, and who do not destroy their own country on orders from foreign masters."

In his latest speech Ghani also called on Pakistan to take the next step in defining ties between the two neighbors.

"Our relations with Pakistan are based on our national interests, on top of which comes security and the safety of our people. If our people continue to be killed, relations lose meaning. I hope it will not happen," he said.

"I ask the Pakistani government if the mass killings of Shah Shaheed had happened in Islamabad and the perpetrators were in Afghanistan, what would you do?"

Ghani's harsh tone is considered to be a change in tactic towards Pakistan, while the minister he shares power with, Abdullah Abdullah, echoed his criticisms and claimed that Pakistan has not changed its policies towards Afghanistan despite Kabul's unprecedented outreach to the country.

At least four people were killed and 17 were wounded when a car bomb exploded near Kabul International Airport on Monday. The bombing followed a series of attacks on Friday which killed at least 20 police recruits, a NATO soldier, and around 30 people in the capital.

The deadly attacks came soon after Taliban founder Mullah Omar's death was announced and there have been claims of split in the group over the appointment of new Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as its leader.

Some analysts claim the split within the Taliban has led the group to try to show it is still a strong threat to the government.

“They aim to prove that despite cracks in their ranks they can still pose a grave threat to the government and inflict heavy damage,” former Afghan Air Chief General Atiqullah Amarkhail told Turkey's Anadolu Agency, adding that the group also aims to divert attention away from its internal divisions.

Afghan officials believe Mansoor is in Pakistan and the Taliban is being controlled by the government in Islamabad.

However, Pakistan was quick to deny the claims, saying it "is committed to maintaining good neighborly relations with Afghanistan," AA reported.

"As underscored by the prime minister of Pakistan during his visit to Kabul on May 12, 2015, Pakistan considers enemies of Afghanistan as its own enemies and has been extending its fullest cooperation to Afghanistan in combating terrorism," Pakistan's foreign office said in a statement, cited by Pakistan's DAWN newspaper.

"Pakistan condemns these deadly attacks in Afghanistan in the strongest terms. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Afghan brethren in their hour of grief," the statement added.

TRTWorld and agencies