Pakistan’s role crucial in stemming terror: Karzai
CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Monday told world leaders the sacrifices of Afghans should not be overlooked and there is a pressing need for addressing shortcomings in the approach to fighting terrorism.
“As we celebrate our shared achievements of the past decade, we must not overlook the immense sacrifices and suffering of the Afghan people and we must address the shortcomings of the approach in fighting terrorism,” Karzai said in his address at the NATO gathering in Chicago.
“The war on terror has narrowly focused on Afghanistan, where villages and towns have suffered terribly from an unending stream of violence, whereas terrorist safe havens, training camps and support networks have remained untouched beyond Afghanistan’s frontiers,” he added.
Karzai said after more than a decade into the fight, terrorism remained a serious threat, as extremism and radicalism were on the rise.
“Spreading across societies in the region, the menace, as we all know, has dire consequences not just for the stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan but also for the security of the region and the world as a whole.”
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari was also invited to attend the two-day summit, where US President Barack Obama played host to a galaxy of world leaders in his adopted hometown.
Karzai said Pakistan’s cooperation was very much needed to invite the Taliban to the negotiating table. “Pakistan’s constructive engagement and cooperation will be instrumental for bringing the Taliban leadership to the negotiating table.
"We believe Afghanistan and Pakistan have strong mutual security interests to work together to defeat terrorists intent on killing our people, undermining the sovereignty of our countries and destabilising our region,” he said.
“Over the past few years, we have closely engaged Pakistan to assist us with the peace process, and I am hopeful that the weeks and months ahead will witness more tangible measures in this regard,” Karzai added.
“However, while Pakistan and other countries from the region and beyond have a role to play in supporting the peace process and ensuring its success, it is for Afghans to fully own and fully lead this process,” he said.
While lessons of the past must be learned, he said, it was the future of this critical partnership between Afghanistan and the international community that must be the focus of the important event.
“In looking to the future, I consider ongoing transition process in Afghanistan to be the most important strategic priority in our joint efforts,” the president concluded.
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