Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani criticised the anti-terror fatwa (Islamic directive) issued by religious scholars in Pakistan earlier this month, saying the anti-terrorism fatwa should have covered the entire Muslim world, including his country said, media report.
“If they [Islamic principles] extend to all [of the world] of Islam, then it [the Pakistani edict] should first and foremost be implemented in relation to Afghanistan,” Ghani said while addressing a gathering in Kabul of Afghan youths, women, civil society activists and clerics.
Pakistan has for years been plagued by violence, and militants often use suicide bombers and preach that their struggle is a holy war to impose Islamic rule. Suicide attacks are frequently condemned as fanatical and immoral, especially when civilians are killed, but insurgents view the tactic as their most effective weapon.
More than 1,800 Pakistani religious scholars on January 16 issued a fatwa, forbidding suicide bombings. The government launched national narrative on extremism and terrorism at a ceremony at Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad. Titled ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’, a document contained a fatwa against militancy duly endorsed by the religious scholars of all schools of thought.
Addressing the ceremony, President Mamnoon Hussain had expressed confidence that the national narrative would help address the challenges of sectarianism, extremism and terrorism.
According to media, while there was no official reaction from Pakistan to Ghani’s comments, authorities in private dismissed them as ‘astonishing’.
‘Afghan army to collapse without US help’
Ghani on Wednesday said Kabul cannot fight the militant groups active in Afghanistan for more than six months without the assistance of the United States, media reported.
In conversation with media, Ghani said, “We will not be able to support our army for six months without US support and US capabilities because we don’t have the money.”
According to the Afghan president, at least 21 international terrorist groups are operating in his country and ‘terrorists can strike at any time’.
“Dozens of suicide bombers are being sent. There are factories producing suicide bombers. We are under siege,” Ghani told the ‘60 Minutes’ programme.
In August 2017, US President Donald Trump had announced a new Afghanistan strategy and pledged continued American support for the Afghan military. Trump said that the US contingent in Afghanistan would be expanded. There are about 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan at present, including the 3,000 sent in September, following Trump’s announcement.
Last week, US military officials told the Wall Street Journal that the Pentagon hopes to increase the American military presence in Afghanistan in time for spring, by deploying an estimated 1,000 new combat advisers to Afghanistan. The Pentagon is also reportedly sending additional unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as helicopters and ground vehicles. With the new arsenal, the US hopes it can finally defeat the Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan.
Kabul peace process and Pakistan
On Pakistan, Ghani said that Afghanistan and Pakistan could become prosperous.
“We need all-around negotiations with Pakistan. We have raised our negotiations hand,” Ghani said.
Speaking on Wednesday, Ghani said, “The war is not Afghanistan’s, it is a war on Afghanistan” and called on the Afghan civil society, youth and women need to play a key role in the peace process.
According to him, Afghanistan is a “wealthy country” but “we still raise our hands for help from other countries.”