Addressing a panel of experts at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said that peace in Afghanistan will be the greatest asset for Pakistan’s prosperity in terms of energy if Islamabad changes its attitude towards Afghanistan and addresses the common issue of terrorism.
“Afghanistan wants an engagement with Pakistan. Our relationship falls in three buckets. Our fundamental problem with Pak is their inaction. 1: removing shadow of violence. 2: we will be the greatest prosperous asset for Pakistan in terms of energy. 3: the joint issue which is terrorism,” he said.
This comes shortly after sources close to the Taliban said the US and Taliban had reportedly inched closer towards sealing an agreement on some key issues this week in Doha, Qatar.
However, Ghani said the function of the office of Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States Special Representatives for Afghanistan Reconciliation, was to facilitate direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
“The function of Ambassador Khalilzad’s office is to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with Afghan government. We need regional and international consensus to achieve peace,” Ghani said in Davos, which coincided with the Doha talks.
“Afghans as a nation and as a state are dedicated to overcoming the past. According to a World Bank analysis, if Pakistan continues the current course, they will be a very poor country by 2047. If they change and engage in regional cooperation, they could be a middle income country,” he said.
Amid rumors on the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, Ghani said that US President Donald Trump’s South Asia Strategy is a very thoughtful response to the situation on the ground, as the core of the strategy was to bring peace in Afghanistan.
“The South Asia Strategy is a very thoughtful response to the situation on the ground. First, the core of South Asia Strategy was to bring peace to Afghanistan, and we have welcomed this. Second, it is a conditions-based strategy. We've reformed our security forces,” said Ghani.
Ghani noted that the rules of the game in Afghanistan are set by Afghanistan’s constitution, adding that in 2024, Afghanistan will be self-reliant.
Ghani’s remarks came as reports surfaced in the media that the US and the Taliban had reportedly inched closer towards sealing an agreement on some key issues including a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and a ceasefire.
Close sources to the Taliban have also said that the Taliban will not allow any group to stage attacks against other nations from Afghan territory.
These issues were reportedly discussed during this week’s talks in Doha between the US and the Taliban. The two-day talks were scheduled for Monday and Tuesday but continued through to Thursday and are expected to carry on Friday.
Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal said in a report the withdrawal of some or all of the approximately 14,000 US forces from Afghanistan are under discussion – which is a move the Taliban has been pushing for since the start of the talks with the US, that were initiated last year.
According to sources, based on a potential agreement, Washington will announce a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban will provide a guarantee that the group will not pose a threat to any foreign country.