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Afghanistan president calls for long-term strategy against entrenched terror

IANS | United States |

Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has called for international action and a long-term strategy to counter the terrorist organisations sheltered in the region warning that they do not differentiate Kabul and other cities when they strike.

Speaking at a high-level meeting of the General Assembly here on Tuesday, Ghani said: “The future of Afghanistan matters because we are on the frontlines of the global effort to eradicate the threat of terrorism.”

Welcoming US President Donald Trump’s new Afghan strategy announced in August, Ghani said it “consolidates all instruments of American power, conveying a message that the Taliban and their backers cannot win militarily”.

“The Afghan people have looked to the US for this type of resolve for years,” he added.

Trump had called out Pakistan for harbouring terrorists and gave a stern warning that it has much to lose by working with terrorists.

Again in his UN speech on Wednesday morning, Trump threatened strong action against countries that support or finance organisations like the Taliban.

Alluding to this, Ghani said that there was now an opportunity for a dialogue with its neighbours on eliminating terrorism.

“I call upon Pakistan to engage with us on a comprehensive state-to-state dialogue on peace, security and regional cooperation leading to prosperity,” he said.

With no prospects for a military victory by the Taliban, Ghani said that it should participate in an “intra-Afghan dialogue” for a peaceful solution.

“The Afghan government has proven that we are committed to peace through our own internal processes, as demonstrated by the peace agreement with Hizb-i-Islami,” Ghani said.

The Afghan President warned about what he called the “Fifth Wave of Political Violence” by non-state actors backed by state sponsors, criminal organisations and cybercrime.

“This Fifth Wave promises to be decades-long threat to international security rather than a passing phenomenon,” he said.

He added: “We must confront the threat of terrorism as a united force, and meet it with a long-term solution that matches the long-term agenda of the terrorists themselves.”

Trump in his Tuesday’s speech reiterated a long-term commitment to Afghanistan: “From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operations, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians,” he said