New US strategy in Afghanistan an opportunity for Pakistan to fight terrorism, says Ghani

ANI | Updated: Sep 27, 2017 16:29 IST

Kabul [Afghanistan], Sept.27 (ANI): Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday said that his government has drawn up a four-year military plan to ensure peace in his country and Pakistan has an opportunity to eliminate terrorism from the region.

Addressing media after talks with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Ghani said, "US's new strategy is an opportunity for Pakistan to fight terrorism. Afghanistan is ready for peace, but the ball is in Pakistan's court."

He said that his government's job is to look towards the future.

Ghani called on insurgents to join the peace process for the success of Afghan-owned peace process.

Urging countries in the region to help eradicate terrorism, Ghani called on "India, Russia and other countries in the region to come together to help mobilise against the fight against terrorism.

In addition, Ghani stated his government had drawn up a four-year military plan that has been approved by NATO.

Stoltenberg said NATO does not want Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists again and NATO troops are in Afghanistan to make the country safer.

Asserting that his presence in Kabul along with Mattis reflects their commitment to Afghanistan, Stoltenberg said, "Corruption is a serious concern and that thousands of civilians have lost their lives in the Afghan conflict over the years, We count on the Afghan government to make good on its commitments on key reforms' and that NATO supports peace process."

He said that "with NATO's help, Afghan forces have come a very long way and we will continue to train, advise and assist" the Afghan security forces.

Stoltenberg also said that NATO has pleaded to increase troop numbers and welcomes Washington's conditions-based approach to Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump has asked President Ghani to close a Taliban mission in Qatar, which has been a channel for dialogue for more than six years.

Ghani said "if any decision is taken to close the Taliban office in Qatar, it will be Kabul's decision."

Meanwhile, Mattis said that the "coalition will do everything possible to help ensure security in Afghanistan and welcomes the Afghan government's reforms proposal."

Mattis said that the three leaders discussed the "new strategy and how it will be implemented in Afghanistan as instability in South Asia is a threat to the world but believes Afghanistan will have a better future and better security."

"Coalition will not allow al-Qaeda, Haqqani and other insurgent groups to gain a foothold in the country and that all efforts will be made to secure Afghanistan," Mattis added.

Hitting out at Taliban, Mattis also stated that the Taliban do not respect the people of Afghanistan and intentionally use civilians in ways that results in their deaths.(ANI)